Well this will be part two of the flood of 98.
But first I would like to say that I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving and that you spent time with your family and friends.
I would also like to say a few words about the passing of Mr. John Graf.
We worked togezther for a while at A&G electric and when he retired from the school district vocational electrical trades, I took over for him. He was a great man I met him when he was working for Taylor Duke Electric on Main St. he will be missed.
This time I will talk about the Hernandez family and what they did during the 98 flood. I got this from my good friend Raul Hernandez local electrician. He lived on Jones street during the flood and still lives there today.
Raul stated that his family has lived in the brown plaza area since the 1850. His great grandfather was Nicholas Rodriguez. They have lived within 50 ft of the San Felipe creek since his great grandfather settled here, his grandfather walked here from some where close to Monterey with his friend. He stated that he knows or knew many people born here and lived here 100 plus years. one person he met was Chonita a curandera that delivered most of the babies in the area. His grandma married Pedro Hernandez. When Raul father Antonio Hernandez was born, he lived here all his life.
The flood of 98 was the biggest ever. Raul said his father’s cousin Memo Hinojosa would stay inside of his house to protect neighbors from thieves. They would try to make him leave but he wouldn’t go. I remember staying at the catholic church over night when the flood would come. And my dad and Memo would help neighbors get out, and I am still here today.
Raul said that he, his brother Eddie, his father Antonio, his mother Bertha and others were inside and heard a noise, they looked out the window and saw a dump truck floating down jones street towards the river.
We all went to my father’s house on Chapoy St. which was the street behind our house. Glendora Lowe who also lived on Jones street had already put her family on the roof. I prayed to god that we would be safe and all of a sudden, a large dump truck appeared and loaded all of us up. The dump truck started backing up. I told my family stay together god only knows where we will end up. We had to back up because that was the only way out the water was to deep and too strong to walk.
My neighbors Beto and Lola Aroujo barley made it out. They took all of them to Austin school.
Myself, my dad, my brother Eddie, stayed behind to help save people. We tied water hoses together to help people walk through the water, some younger children and some babies were able to be saved by the effort that the Hernandez family made. Carmen Ramirez Miguel Tomaton Hernandez pulled out a lot of people that would have drowned. Raul said that he estimated that at least seventeen people were saved from drowning. On a sad note Raul stated that there was two elderly gentlemen men who were lost because the water was to strong and to high to reach them. Their houses were also washed away.
Raul said that Before he left his house, he went to check on his neighbor Fortino and Ninfa Guzman. I promised them I would come back for them.
They could not walk so they sat on their bed and waited hoping the water that was still rising would not get to their chest. Raul his brother Walo, and Eddie got to them at 6 a.m. we broke down the door and I heard Tino say I knew you would come for us.
Raul said that this is only a portion of what they did to help save lives and he also stated that he is so proud what his family has done in this neighborhood of San Felipe some very good people live here he says and he loves this area and has no intention of moving.
In closing let me say this is only one story about people who care enough to step up and help people that need help. I hope that when you read this it will inspire you to lend a hand if you know someone who needs it and to do it out of the kindness of your heart.
Let me end by saying god bless and try to help anyone you know that need help and thank the lord you live in this beautiful city my home town Del Rio, Texas. God Bless
A special thanks to Raul Hernandez for taking the time in giving this story. Thanks to Victor Cirilo and the Val Verde County Library.