My name is Tramaine Orellana and I'm an employment consultant at the North Carolina Department of Commerce in Clinton. Days after Hurricane Florence passed and dropped 18 trillion gallons of water on us, my family is struggling to go back to our cherished routine. I'm back at work but our family is still dealing with the recovery.
My two kids love our daily routine. Dinner and family time is our life. But it's hard to keep it up when your home is flooded with 4 feet of water and you are staying with relatives with a much longer and risky commute. My kids were used to their own rooms and sharing one now it's making cohabitation hard, especially without their toys!
Back in 2016, Matthew flooded our house with 5-6 feet of water. Like many other homes in my neighborhood that also got flooded. So, many other young families like us followed the mandatory evacuation and left the neighborhood.
We left to Charlotte to stay with relatives, juts to learn that Florence had changed course and it was on its way West. After the storm, the driving back home was complicated. Driving is still complicated. The dirt and water from the rain is taking roads with them and making commutes much longer and dangerous. You never know if a road is going to collapse because of the floods.
We are facing a long recovery, like we had in 2016. However, I'm hopeful. Having my union made me feel a little safer. The union staff risked their lives coming from Raleigh to show their support. For that, I want to thank Felicia Chiambiro, Laresha Fortson, and Celia Wilson. I'm also thankful for my fellow members. We may have come from different backgrounds, but we support each other 100 percent. I know they are dealing with their own problems but they chipped in and they have been a great support, helping with all little things that can overwhelm you in a situation like this. From clearing out water, to washing down furniture and personal items, to cleaning the fridge; all those little things are essential to start the recovery healthy.
I'm certain that we will recover stronger than before. We are pulling it together and our SEIU extended family has our back.