Stories from the flood: Houston family swims to safety

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HOUSTON, TX - Now that the waters have subsided, the stories of Memorial Day's flood are coming afloat.

"We didn't know what to do," said Dena Vorzman.  She's still cleaning her house in Willow Meadows, near 610 South.  Young volunteers were helping her remove ruined items from inside the residence and the garage. "We called the fire department and they said, 'Well, there are literally a million people who have called in, who have the same troubles as you, and we don't think that we're gonna be able to get to you because your street is under five feet of water.'"

It was a nightmare for the Vorzmans.  They live in one of the neighborhoods that have been affected the most by the flood, and their house was hit particularly hard.  They had to evacuate their home in the middle of the night.

"I went to the front door and saw storm water starting to come in," Dena recalls.  "It was coming in so rapidly."

It was a deja vu.  They moved to Houston from New Jersey, not long ago, with memories of hurricane Sandy still fresh in their minds.

"Hurricane Sandy was very frightening.  There was a lot of rain and the trees were blowing all over the place."

But they will never forget what they had to go through in the city of bayous that overflow.

"Thinking fast, I ran to the garage," she said.  "I grabbed our boogie boards.  My middle daughter and I went out and started swimming.  We got to the middle of the block, which was probably around six feet deep, maybe.  She got scared and started crying.  I said: 'no, no, no.  Just keep kicking.  Kick, kick, kick, kick.  And we kicked, and we kicked, and we kicked.  So we got across.  And it was just a happy, happy moment."

Her husband Ilan and the other two kids came behind.  It was pitch dark and the current was sweeping them away.

"We didn't know what was in the water," Dena expressed.  "As we're swimming through the water we're watching turtles swim past us… snakes."

But they managed to get to their neighbor's house across the street.

"I feel so thankful," she cried.  "I feel thankful that my family is safe."

Moments like these help us realize that who we have around us is more important than what was lost in the storm.  And now, it's time to start over… all over again.

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