Forever Changed

by Jane Carver

One young man’s journey into manhood includes friends, family, a job and someone who wants his life. Add to all that, the nation’s worst hurricane—the 1900 storm—that devastated Galveston, Texas and you get a gripping view of life before and after when the island was forever changed.

Jonathan Evans works for Mr. Jack and Ms. Christie Zimmerman on Galveston Island. The cook is fantastic; the maid is lovely; the Zimmerman family has taken him in like a son. But he has secrets and someone is out to kill him. Another boy’s already died in his place by accident. When the great storm hits the island, Jonathan must step up, do what needs to be done then guide his family into a new life.


Texas Strong


When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you.
Isaiah 43:2

Hurricanes rarely last even forty-eight hours. They churn in warm waters, make landfall, then move on quickly as a rain storm.

Almost exactly one-hundred-twenty-seven years after the great storm hit Galveston, Texas, Hurricane Harvey hit the Texas Gulf coast. The slow-moving hurricane made landfall just north of Corpus Christi, at Rockport, devastating the small town and those near it. The storm then downgraded to a powerful tropical storm and moved inland only a hundred miles to sit and rain for days. It then moved back into the Gulf—all at an excruciatingly slow pace—and pounded the coast up past Victoria, Palacios and the Houston metro area, dropping unprecedented amounts of rain. After six days, it made yet another landfall near the Texas/Louisiana border, but not before turning towns like Beaumont and all the tiny communities around it into virtual islands, inaccessible except by boat.

The damage was unimaginable, but Texans across the state stepped up, even while Harvey dropped enough rain to end the drought in the entire state of California. An unbelievable 50+ inches fell to the east of Houston alone.

While Gulf coast folks rushed to help, we didn’t weather this storm alone.

First responders, firemen, police and the National Guard simply couldn’t handle the sheer numbers of calls asking for rescue. So, citizens stepped in, bringing boats. Texans from around the state showed up. The ‘Cajun Navy’ from Louisiana brought their airboats. Other states sent personnel and equipment from as far away as New York, reciprocating after Texas helped them through Hurricane Sandy’s recovery.

Through it all—in wind and water—Texans hit the ground even as the rains began, came together, never asking color, religion, gender or status. They helped their neighbors get out safely, then took care of them in shelters. Texans helped when those displaced folks returned to water-damaged homes, moving, ripping, mopping up. Offering hands to help and shoulders to cry on.

We weren’t alone. Others helped. Saying ‘thank you’ just doesn’t seem enough.

The immediate aftermath of the great storm of 1900 that devastated Galveston created the first recognized national relief effort by citizens of the United States and even foreign countries. That tradition of helping remains strong today. Not just ‘Houston Strong’ where the phrase started but Texas Strong because that’s who we are... a state—and a nation—of strong caring people.

If some other place needs help after a natural disaster, I know the spirit of helping that abounds in Texas will flow over to those in need.


Forever Changed by Jane Carver



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