HUMBLE, Texas (FOX 26) - A local eye doctor known as the "Elvis doctor" has spent the last year rebuilding, after his business, his cars and his Kingwood home were all flooded during Hurricane Harvey. The storm destroyed everything including his extensive, 20-year collection of Elvis Memorabilia. It even delayed his plans for retirement for at least, another 10 years.
"I still get emotional talking about it. I get emotional talking about the way it looked when I came in because it was just destroyed. Everything I've worked for all these years. It was a lifetime of work," Dr. Jay said.
Hurricane Harvey flooded Dr. Jay Pravda's Kingwood home with a foot of water last year and destroyed several of his cars.
His optometry practice in Humble was flooded with more than six feet of water that stayed stagnant for up to two weeks. With no flood insurance at the business, and hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt, he's starting over from scratch at 69 years old.
Dr. Jay's practice shut down for eight months after Harvey, but reopened its doors in April. Although the business had the best month of sales in his 43 years of practice, Dr. Jay said Harvey put him in hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt, even delaying his retirement in 2020, another 10 years.
"I couldn't sell my practice for enough money to pay back all the loans and come out with anything at the end. So retirement doesn't look like it's going to be a possibility. At least not anytime soon," Dr. Jay said.
Everything from the display glasses to the medical equipment and the Elvis memorabilia that covered his office from floor to ceiling, were ripped from the walls and shattered into pieces.
His precious collection started nearly 20 years ago when his patients and friends stared gifting him the memorabilia because they knew how much he loved the 60s rock 'n roll legend.
"There were pictures, CDs, Elvis dolls, keychains and everything all over the walls and in cabinets. Those things cant be replaced. I mean I knew the people that gave me these things and it wasn't the things. It was the thoughts that went into it, that they thought enough of me to bring me something, to order me something," Dr. Jay said.
"It was awful. I walked in and I cried when I saw it. Everything was covered in mold and water and mud. Everything was gone," Dr. Jay said.
A year after Harvey, Dr. Jay is finally getting back on his feet. All that remains is a bucket of Elvis memorabilia that survived the storm. He hasn't had the heart to throw it away yet. Instead, he's hoping to eventually restore what's left, just like he did with his life.
"I don't want to go through it again. Not at all," Dr. Jay said.
In the last four months since his practice reopened, Dr. Jay said he's already received several new, Elvis-gifts to redecorate his office. It's a small collection right now but he hopes to one day cover the walls with all things Elvis again.