‘Shipped out’ family returns to home port

May 22, 2019 | Ingleside Index | Donna Woolston

David and Sandra Shipp, along with their family, and representatives from the Coastal Bend Disaster Recovery and Ingleside Chamber of Commerce, and volunteers celebrated a ribbon cutting on their new home in Ingleside, which was built because their original home was destroyed by Hurricane Harvey.

The Shipps evacuated to San Antonio as the storm approached, leaving behind David’s childhood home.Their evacuation had extra complications because David is blind and, as a diabetic, must have regular dialysis. In addition, the Shipps are an extended family living together. With their son, daughter-in-law, and grandchildren included David and Sandra evacuated as a group of seven. However, they had family in San Antonio and they expected to return soon to their home in Ingleside.

The Shipps did return in a few days and found their roof collapsed and the household belongings scattered throughout the building, “like the storm had twisted everything around in the house,” explained Sandra.

After the house was condemned by the city, the Shipps were concerned about what to do. David had worked and provided for his family before his illness made that impossible. Sandra, also, had worked and helped family and friends in need. When they became the ones in need, they weren’t sure what to do.

“But, I knew God would do something. I just didn’t know what it was going to be,” Sandra said.

A friend told the Shipps about Coastal Bend Disaster Recovery and Sandra decided to call the organization. “At first it was hard. When you’ve always been the one helping people, it feels wrong somehow to ask for help. I know it’s not wrong. It’s just the way it feels,” she said.

The Shipps were approved for aid through CBDR, but they still needed a place to stay. Staying in hotels and driving an hour or more to dialysis was difficult, but the determined couple kept at it. Then, there was an opportunity to live in Lawton, OK with their daughter and her family. So the seven Shipps left for Oklahoma to stay while volunteer groups worked to build a home for them in Ingleside.

CBDR, with a generous donation from Shell Oil and the help of Christian Public Services and a church group from Boston worked to build the house and procure donations for furniture.

In the meantime, the Shipps worked in Lawton to continue caring for David and being a family “sticking together through it all, like we always do,” Sandra said. She said David listens to books and music and participates in family life. “It’s hard for him after being so active and productive,” but he enjoys what he can do and is glad to be home.”

CBDR sent Sandra pictures of the progress on the house, but the first time she saw it was the day of the ribbon cutting.

“I’m sorry I’m so emotional. It’s such a beautiful house. I feel overwhelmed. I’m so thankful,” she said to the group gathered for the ribbon cutting.

“It’s cold and snowy in Lawton in the winter. It wasn’t like home,” Sandra shuddered. “This is home. I grew up in Aransas Pass and David grew up here in a house on this property. So we are glad to be back,” she concluded.

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