Del Rio residents and organizations are helping send food, water and supplies to Sonora, where a devastating flood left hundreds of people homeless last week.
Ashley Henson-Harris and Natalie Granatelli are two Del Rioans who have organized trips to Sutton County's seat, 90 miles north of Del Rio, sending everything from casseroles to cleaning supplies to help the city move forward.
“In some neighborhoods people were hauling everything out of their homes. It was hard to see,” said Granatelli, who traveled to Sonora with 18 volunteers from Laughlin Air Force Base. “But then you go to places like the civic center and there were so many people rallying together.”
Henson-Harris, a Sonora native, recalled how her hometown responded when Del Rio experienced its 1998 deluge that left nine dead and more than 600 homes severely damaged.
“I can remember the entire town collected anything and everything we could,” Henson-Harris said. “It brought back a lot of those feelings of when Del Rio flooded.”
Tammy Fisher, a lawyer and fifth generation Sonora rancher, has spearheaded volunteer and donation efforts to get the city of roughly 2,835 back on its feet, Fisher said.
The flood resulted from a large storm system that expanded to Dallas, Fisher said. While about four inches fell in town, where grounds were already saturated from previous precipitation, about 10 inches fell north of town and rushed down river to Sonora, Fisher said.
“The dam couldn't sustain the amount of water,” Fisher said. “It came through town like no one has ever seen before.”
About 250 homes, 20 businesses, three churches and a golf course were damaged or destroyed during the flooding, Fisher said. Waterlines left behind after the floodwaters receded showed six feet of flooding in some areas of town, she said.
While the devastation affected about a quarter of the city, Fisher said the residents are thankful there were no casualties or serious injuries resulting from the flood, although a few residents experienced injuries while attempting to clean out their homes.
The city is also thankful for the relief efforts that have poured in from across Texas and the entire country since word spread about the Sonora's flood, Fisher said.
“The entire west Texas Hill Country has banded together behind us,” Fisher said. “It's a constant flow of pickups, trailers and trucks. We can't unload them fast enough. It's amazing.”
Henson-Harris said she’ll continue to volunteer as long as she's needed, she said.
“We were just overwhelmed with the donations coming in,” Henson-Harris said. “There was so much generosity.”
The San Angelo Area Foundation is currently accepting monetary donations to help provide relief for those affected by the flood, Fisher said. Del Rio entities like Border Federal Credit Union and Dave's Appliance Repair have also organized donation collection drives.