HOUSTON - A Houston family never thought they could lose everything - twice.
The Olivares lost their home in the Memorial Day Flood of 2015, only to rebuild, move back in and have it washed away again by Hurricane Harvey two years later.
“Ain’t no storm gonna keep me from taking care of my family. You know what I’m saying?” Serik Olivares said.
As the oldest child of the Olivares family, he noted it's been a strange year for Houston residents, from the Super Bowl in February to Hurricane Harvey in August to being crowned World Series Champs in October.
“We had all of these things happen for us as a city, but we still are able to be kind to each other,” he said.
While his family lost a lot, Serik Olivares said, others have suffered even more.
“I feel for people that lost more than what we did. I’m blessed to be honest,” he said. “We were able to take that punch and walk with it.”
The Olivares family lost their home to five feet of water when Harvey struck.
Sam Olivares is the mother of five children. She separated from her husband in 2015 and months later, lost her job. Her only source of income became an eCommerce business, but Harvey washed all of her inventory away.
“I thought maybe my boxes were saved, the stock from my business was saved,” Sam Olivares said. “I was hoping to save something; anything really.”
But everything was gone.
Sam Olivares said it’s been friends and family who have helped get through. They brought her televisions, mattresses and even a washing machine and dryer to help her family get back to their normal routine.
Sophia Olivares, the middle of the five children, said she felt helpless. She was a student at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles. Sam Olivares said her daughter felt horrible that the entire family in Texas suffering. Her way of assisting the family was starting the GoFundMe for her family. Sam Olivares said the GoFundMe has helped maintain the house on a temporary basis.
Sam Olivares said everyone in the community had a hand in helping out.
“Families would come out and bring us food. Random people would just show up with food, with drinks, with water, and help us. They would just help,” she said.
Her son helped others as well. She remembers him and his friends going up and down the street, just to help families move stuff, and they all embraced the motto #HoustonStrong.
“We’re a very soulful city. Everyone loves each other, for the most part, and I think this was a time where you saw us come together,” Sam Olivares said.
Now, the family is living in a new home. She said she and her children still have reason to smile on this holiday.
“The kids and I are a team,” she said. “We literally do it as a unit, and we’re so lucky to be in here.”