Michelle and Royce’s Story:

(Rod’s note-  Michelle and Royce are the people whose house Howard’s team is working on this week.  The following is in Michelle’s own words)

Michelle’s truck
Royce’s Truck- both lost in the storm
It has been almost two years since Super Storm Sandy made her appearance. We have lived in Crisfield all our lives and have ridden out all the Hurricanes and Storms that have come our way. We planned to do the same with Sandy. Such an easy name on the tongue. We have been through Gloria, Isabell, Andrew, Hugo and more. Surely this would not be a large worry.  My mother was staying with me and my husband Royce and we were prepared for the storm. Water, candles, flashlights, batteries, food, blankets, magazines, etc… One hour into the storm my husband looks out the door and then at me. “You need to get your Mom out of here.” He’s a waterman and knows currents and tides and wind. He didn’t want to leave our home and I didn’t want to leave him and my Mom wouldn’t leave without me. And we all know that if Momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy! So my Mom and I made the decision to leave and Royce would stay behind as long as he could to protect our home. The water rose so fast, it was too late to drive out. We called 911 for a rescue and were told they would do their best to get us out.


The view out our front door



We packed a bag of clothes and medicine for my Mom, who was undergoing treatment for cancer. For the first time (and probably the last time!) I was thankful for the many boats in our yard. Afraid to wait any longer for the rescue, Royce pulled a skiff to the front door and loaded us up to take us somewhere safer. The water was rising fast and furious. He pulled us down Cove St. where we saw a National Guard truck headed our way. They quickly loaded us up in the truck. 10 minutes later Royce called on the cell phone and said a large tree had just crashed through the roof on our back deck and had missed him by inches. Sadly, our 19 year old cat was not so fortunate and perished under the tree and roof.
Suddenly the truck we were in stalled. It was stuck on what might have been a U.S. Mailbox. Another truck was called in to help us out. There were several of us on the truck. We were cold, wet from the rain, and impatient to get to higher ground. While we waited, calls for help came in and the Guardsmen left the truck and came back with a little baby, maybe 2 months old and his mother. Another call for help and they came back with a man with only one leg. Our complaining stopped. We realized how serious this whole situation was.
Finally another truck arrived. We needed to transfer to that truck and the only way to do that was to swim. My mother was too weak to do this so these wonderful guardsmen carried her to the other truck while I waded chest deep with our bags held above my head. I had just been diagnosed with pneumonia three days before.  Within an hour our rescue was complete and we were safe at my brother Preston’s house in Kingston.
This memory is bittersweet for me. Four months after “Sandy” my mother passed away. From the cancer that caused her to be staying with me, that caused me to seek rescue, on a truck that came to Cove St. for that rescue, that got stalled and while stalled heard the cries for help, that rescued a little baby and a man with only one leg. Life puts us on a strange path sometimes. And as my Mom always said “There is a silver lining in every cloud”.




Seeing this propane tank floating away made us decide to leave


Afraid to wait any longer for the Ntl. Guard Royce pulled the skiff up to the front door.
We loaded my mom and myself up and sailed out looking for higher ground
The water was rising rapidly as we sailed away
Rescuing the mom and her little baby

Rescuing the man with one leg


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