By Robbie Owens

ALLEN (CBS11) – It was 12 years ago today, that Hurricane Katrina dominated the headlines—raining misery on millions in Louisiana and South Texas.

Now, the images of loss and despair in Houston fall especially hard on the hearts of Gladys and Christopher Bloom of Allen, for a reason.

“It broke my heart when I saw the young girl with her baby and she said that all she could save were diapers and wipes,” said Gladys. “I was like, oh, my Lord!”

“Overnight, you lose everything!” added Christopher. “How many people go through that?”

The Blooms did… losing their New Orleans home to the rising flood waters, and to looters who stole what wasn’t destroyed.

“I cried,” admitted Gladys. “I was like, man, it’s over…and his question to me was ‘do you want to come back?’ and I told him ‘no’.”

The family managed to save a christening gown, the wedding photos and Christopher’s mother’s china. And with little else, the Blooms decided to start over in North Texas.

Christopher, a physician, has built a thriving practice with Gladys’ help, and the entire family has rebuilt their lives. Still, they both say they mourn the loss of their culture—and the connections built when extended family lives nearby.

“When you go through something like that, stuff doesn’t matter anymore: it’s your family, it’s your friends…it’s what you rebuild with, that matters,” said Christopher.

Now, that message of hope and resilience is one they want to share with the Texans fleeing the catastrophic aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.

“As bad as it is, you’re going to see so much good will,” said Christopher. “We’ve experienced that good will. Never give up hope. Never give up on your own strength!”

With Gladys adding, “we held on to our faith… and to family.”

Meantime a three-hour long CBS11 telethon Tuesday to raise money for the Salvation Army’s Hurricane Harvey relief effort made nearly $110,000.  Thanks to all who helped!

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