Hurricane Harvey hit the Coastal Bend hard, and those who survived it have their own stories to tell. That is certainly the case for Rockport resident Robert Mitchell.
Mitchell and his wife Kerri stayed in their home during the storm -- a decision that almost cost them their lives. A look at their home on Wednesday would tell you why.
Heavy machinery was removing the Mitchell family home Wednesday from its perch along FM 1781 near Rockport -- a location near the roadway some 50 yards from where the home stood during the six years the Mitchells lived there.
Harvey had decided the home needed to move to a new spot, and it did so with the family and their dog still inside.
"The house started lifting. It was about three seconds, probably. About 15 or 20 feet the house lifted off the ground, and just as quick as it lifted us off the ground it dropped us back down," Mitchell said. "And we kind of had a sigh of relief there; but then as soon as we thought everything was going to be better, that wall of water hit us and for the next 20 minutes it was chaos."
The Mitchell's said they decided to stay and ride out the hurricane because their home was rated to be able to handle anything up to a Category 5 hurricane.
Once the storm passed, Mitchell began taking pictures of what was left. One showed his pickup truck braced against the home. Rescuers believe the truck helped keep the home from actually flipping over as the hurricane was moving it across the property.
"The main thing that I think about when I see the pictures is that I didn't have complete control, and looking across the room at my wife and my dogs and feeling that feeling that I was going to lose them," Mitchell said.
Somehow they made it out alive. While their home ended up being demolished, they do plan on rebuilding. In the meantime, Kerri continues to teach at the high school, and Robert is the co-chair of this weekend's Rockport Seafair.
"It's like being born again. We lost all of our stuff but the marriage is still there, most of our animals are still intact, and we've got Rockport," Mitchell said. "Rockport strong."
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