Facebook reunites Wimberley flood victims with belongings


The letters lay in a pile of debris along the Blanco River, untorn and neatly stacked in a bundle fastened with a green ribbon.

The 1950s-postmarked mail was obviously swept away in the floods, Stan Deringer knew. So many things had been dragged into the torrent of floodwaters that destroyed so much during the Memorial Day weekend storms. These letters — intact and legible, but wet— had come to rest at the Texas State University campground where Deringer’s cousin works. He brought the letters home, and his wife, Shellie, posted a picture of them on Facebook.

Less than 24 hours later, they’d tracked down the letters’ rightful owner.

“So many people wanted to help these letters get home, and I’m so grateful that we were able to do that,” Shellie Deringer said.

As Wimberley residents deal with the devastation of lost lives, missing people and destroyed homes, glimmers of hope are peeking through the trauma as some residents are being reunited with personal possessions washed away by the raging floodwaters.

In the last few days, several Facebook pages devoted to reconnecting people with their belongings have popped up. Found Photos from Wimberley Floods 2015 is reuniting people with found pictures. Shellie Deringer posted on Wimberley Flood Lost and Found, a 2,700-member group that has already had much success for some people and supplied at least a little hope for others.

People have pleaded for help finding photos, journals, family heirlooms, antique furniture, jewelry and other memory-filled items. Other people post pictures of what they have found.

Dustin New, who lives in New Braunfels, wasn’t affected by the storms, but he has friends in the area and created Wimberley Flood Lost and Found to help people recover.

“If there’s even one thing that finds its way to its original owners, that makes it well worth it,” New said.

By that standard, the effort has been a resounding success.

“This is my aunt’s dog,” one person wrote upon seeing a picture of a scruffy terrier. “Thanks for helping!”

“That is me in the wedding photo, it washed away from my Dad’s house on Flite Acres,” another woman wrote.

“We found our canoe!” a poster wrote. “Thank you!”

Wimberley resident Rick Byars, whose home was damaged in the storms, was crushed when he realized the flood had stolen one of his military surplus boxes. The sturdy white container was filled with mementos: wedding pictures, diplomas, even the grammar school report cards that showed him flirting with failure in the conduct category.

Then his daughter posted a plea on Wimberley Flood Lost and Found. Soon, Byars discovered that his box and its undamaged contents had landed in a San Marcos yard nearly 20 miles away. His memories had been rescued.

“I couldn’t believe it,” he said, his voice catching with emotion. “It really gave us a lift.”


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

Man arrested after starting fire at Austin Club downtown, fire officials say
Man arrested after starting fire at Austin Club downtown, fire officials say

Austin police arrested a man early Monday morning after police and fire officials said a fire was intentionally started at The Austin Club downtown.  Police were called to 110 E. 9th Street around 4:30 a.m. when the building’s alarm went off, said Austin fire Capt. Andy Reardon. Officers first thought they were responding to a burglary,...
1 to 3 inches of rain still expected through Wednesday
1 to 3 inches of rain still expected through Wednesday

Forecasters are still expecting a tropical disturbance in the Gulf of Mexico to bring rain showers to the Austin area through Wednesday night, having already dumped up to a quarter-inch over the weekend by late Sunday afternoon. The scattered showers will produce 1 to 3 inches in Travis County and along the Interstate 35 corridor, bringing slightly...
Five immigrants dead in crash southwest of San Antonio
Five immigrants dead in crash southwest of San Antonio

A fifth person has died and several others were injured in a crash in Dimmit County about 100 miles southwest of San Antonio, according to KSAT 12 in San Antonio. Authorities are investigating the scene where a car full of unauthorized immigrants being chased by Border Patrol agents crashed. Dimmit County deputies say the crash happened off Texas 85...
Texas Digest: 2 face capital murder charges in Dallas

DALLAS Two men charged with capital murder Two men are facing capital murder charges in the shooting deaths of two men found stuffed in the trunk of a Cadillac near a West Dallas park last month. Authorities say 37-year-old Moises Martinez has admitted his role in the homicides and has named an accomplice, 26-year-old Andres Frausto. Frausto already...
Police say man deliberately rammed vehicle on I-35, caused crash
Police say man deliberately rammed vehicle on I-35, caused crash

A man was arrested early Sunday morning after police say he deliberately drove his vehicle into another car on Interstate 35 in North Austin, causing both to crash. Juan Torrez, 51, was charged with aggravated assault with a motor vehicle in the incident, which happened shortly after 2 a.m., an arrest affidavit said. According to the document, Torrez...
More Stories