WIMBERLEY, Texas (KXAN) — The Strahan Coliseum in San Marcos was an odd patch of ground Friday night. It was the staging area for Texas Task Force 2, the searchers who returned after dark from a long, grim and arduous day combing mountains of debris along the Blanco River. Down the hall from their cots and equipment were seniors of Wimberley High School celebrating their graduation.
Graduation usually has great memories for folks, but this week the memories are mixed. Some at the graduation, like Henry Murphy Wollan, lost their homes in the flood.”
“It was 2:30 a.m. and three and a half feet of water came rushing through,” he said. “We evacuated ourselves and my grandmother and her 95-year-old father next door. A friend came through in Kyle and we’ve stayed there the past few days.”
But Friday was a joyous day for Wollan.
“It’s all happy. Hope. I mean, I’m just glad to be here.”
Other students who survived unscathed from the raging waters still felt for their friends and classmates.
“It’s definitely hard, but nice to celebrate something,” said graduate Katy Snyder. “But it’s still in the back of everyone’s mind.”
“We all worked hard to get here. It’s devastating, but good to celebrate and brighten our spirits,” Ian Silbey added.
Many families who lost their homes this week came to the ceremony, but were reminded on this occasion they did not lose everything. They did not lose the future.
“You want to be happy but it’s sad on the other side,” said Maureen Craw, who came to watch her granddaughter Marisa graduate. “It’s been just horrible.”
Wollan’s entire family came to watch, despite their loss. He will now move on to study environmental science at the University of Texas. Task Force 2 members will also move on in the morning, back to the Blanco River.