Georgia and Greg Ray moved to Lake Highlands following the tornadoes. (Watermark Church video)

Georgia and Greg Ray moved to Lake Highlands following the tornadoes. (Watermark Church video)

If you are a victim of disaster, it helps to be part of an altruistic community.

We’ve written time and again about groups in our neighborhood pulling together to help people experiencing tragedy or calamity in their lives. We did a whole cover story about it recently. Read that here (warning: it might make you cry a little).

One church located just outside Lake Highlands, Watermark Community Church, is frequently at the heart of disaster response and neighborhood improvement efforts. Take the recent tornadoes in Garland, for example.

“We heard a big crash,” Greg Ray says in a video by Watermark Community Church. He’s talking about the night tornadoes ripped through a Garland neighborhood, not far from my Lake Highlands neighborhood.
“The back of our home was blown out … I knew we had to go, so we grabbed a few things …” he continues. “Before we were even packed, they had a room for us.”
Volunteers help in a tornado-torn neighborhood. (Watermark video)

Volunteers help in a tornado-torn neighborhood. (Watermark video)

Greg and Georgia Ray say 50-plus people came out, in the rain, the next day to help them dig through the wreckage and salvage what they could.
The Rays and another tornado survivor, Michael Delgado, go on in the video—which you can watch here on Watermark’s Facebook page—to describe the ways Watermark launched into action to help those impacted by the disaster.
Tornado survivor Michael Delgado says Watermark was there before he even asked for help. (Watermark video)

Tornado survivor Michael Delgado says Watermark was there before he even asked for help. (Watermark video)

The church assisted not only its members, like the Rays and Delgado, but also other residents unattached to the church.
“They set up crews to come out, not only for my house, but also for my neighbors,” Delgado says in the video. “They offered help to them without them even asking.”
Even those of us who are not members of organized religions can see the positive ways that faith-based entities such as Watermark impact a neighborhood and community.

Watermark is known not only for responding in an effective, organized manner to disaster here and in other parts of the world, but they also provide social services, such as a health clinic and (along with other area churches and charities) financial workshops, to residents of Lake Highlands who are in need.

A couple years ago we wrote a series about the many ways faith-based groups are changing Lake Highlands for the better. You can read more about that here.

And I just learned that the Rays and their four children, moved into a new home right here in Lake Highlands.