DICKINSON, Texas - The town of Dickinson, Texas, continues to struggle along its path toward recovery three weeks after Hurricane Harvey.
Trash piles and stacks of home debris line neighborhood streets and have started to decompose.
The smell has gotten worse and the home appliances left near the sides of the roads are ripe with mold.
Women of all ages and races stand beneath the midday sun in a single-file line outside of the Dickinson Volunteer Fire Department.
They are awaiting their rations of food, clothing and household items before returning to work on their damaged homes.
“One day at a time,” said Stephen Jordan as he power washes mud from the entrance of his brother’s Dickinson home. “That’s about all I can say.”
The town of less than than 20,000 residents saw some of the worst of the flooding. The town is the location of some of the most dramatic images arising from Hurricane Harvey.
Homeowners had to be rescued from their rooftops by helicopters when the water rose up to their second floors. Residents of a nursing home were stranded in wheelchairs as the floodwater surrounded them.
There has been little rest for the neighbors of Dickinson ever since, but this Friday night after the storm is different. The community is in need of a break.
“You hit it right on the nail,” Jordan said. “Ain’t nothing like a little bit of football. Put the shovels and sheetrock down and go watch a game.”
Dickinson High School Gators football players are warming up ahead of Friday night’s game.
The players have witnessed some unimaginable devastation in the last three weeks.
“They’re just kids,” said Dickinson High School athletics director and head football coach John Snelson. “Most of our kids are living in the houses they were flooded out of.”
Coach Snelson says his players have used practice and the sport as a sort of therapy for what they have been dealing with and witnessing outside of school.
“It kind of gave them their childhood back a little,” Snelson said. “Get our minds out of our personal battles.”
The coach says the lessons taught on the field are the same ones his players are drawing upon as they confront the reality of a long recovery back at home.
“You know that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel,” Snelson said. “There’s going to be times where you feel sorry for yourself, but you can’t do it for long because everybody else is in the exact same boat. And you have to do your job to the best of your ability, because your teammates are counting on you. And that’s what this community is all about.”