FEMA aid denied Humble man who rescued two dozen neighbors from flood

- Monday Alex Maddox showed up at the disaster recovery center seeking any kind of aid - any help in replacing what the swollen San Jacinto River had swept away two weeks before.

"Everything is gone, everything is gone," said Maddox.

His small trailer took on four feet of water. His truck, inundated and left useless.

"This is it. This is all I got. This is all I own," said Maddox, pointing to a muddy assortment of coolers, tools and household goods.

The losses were magnified because Maddox did little to save what he could. That's because he was too busy in this North East Humble community ferrying neighbors to safety by boat.

"In total for the fire department, I must have pulled 25 or 26 people out of the river," said Maddox.

This week a brother reclaimed the wrecked trailer, leaving Maddox without a solid roof over his head.
FEMA then made a bad situation worse by denying his claim for relief.

"Ineligible, minor damage, occupancy not verified, just a whole list of denials," said Maddox reading from the rejection letter.

While friends and local volunteers have stepped into the gap offering a few meals, a little cash and temporary shelter, Maddox feels he's been pushed outside what's supposed to be a government safety net.

"I have people I pulled out of the water ready to sign affidavits. I have employment records. I do have valid payment history. I have all that. Now I have to jump through hurdles, hop on one leg, bark like chicken, just to prove to them that I have sufficient loss," said Maddox.

It is the calculated risk of living on a river certain, at some point to rise. Maddox says, help or no help, he's not leaving the place he calls home.

"The river giveth, the river taketh, so be it, the river," said Maddox who has engaged an attorney to help appeal the FEMA decision.
 

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