Charles and Debra Simpson eyed the forecast nervously in October, after flooding rains overwhelmed the Llano River and carried water downstream the Colorado River toward Austin.

The couple was flooded out of their Cedar Creek mobile home in 2015, when rain inundated Bastrop County over Halloween weekend.

To this day, any sight of storms and river swelling puts the Simpsons on edge.

During the 2015 flood, the couple had been evacuated from their home and returned to find it caked in mud and debris. They tossed out the furniture and salvaged what they could.

"We lost a whole lot," says Charles Simpson, 77.

Three years later, the Simpsons' floors are still a patchwork of wood and linoleum. The cabinets are stripped bare. Only half the electrical sockets work, so extension cords run the length of their living room. The Austin Disaster Relief Network, family and neighbors had banded together after the flood to help them strip the home and rebuild, but it wasn't enough to put things back to the way they were before. These days, the house is hard to live in, the couple said, because Debra is in a wheelchair and Charles is on hospice care for congestive heart failure.

The Simpsons are part of the Statesman's Season for Caring program, which helps hundreds of families each year through local nonprofit agencies. They were nominated by Hospice Austin.

Before the flood, the Simpsons were in a tragic car accident, which rendered both unable to walk. They escaped the vehicle with broken legs. Charles eventually recovered, but Debra, 67, has been in a wheelchair ever since.

A rainy September and October put the couple on edge, knowing their home isn't safe to weather another storm. Because they're on a fix income, they haven't been able to make needed repairs. Luckily, in October, the Colorado River that runs behind their house only rose to the top of its banks and didn't spill over. Only a low-water crossing leading into the neighborhood was closed, Debra Simpson said.

"It kept me up several nights," she said by phone. "I didn’t get to sleep till 2 or 3 in the morning thinking about it."

The Simpsons need either a new mobile home or repairs to their existing home such as new floors, electrical wiring and plumbing work. Debra Simpson needs a lift for their van to allow her to travel safely in her wheelchair. They also need car repairs, hearing aids for Charles Simpson, eye exams, an exterminator and clothing.

To find out more about the couple or to fulfill an item on their wish list, contact Hospice Austin at 512-342-4726, hospiceaustin.org.


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