JOHNSTOWN - A text message can say a lot, especially when you’ve been waiting days to hear back from the ones you love.
“All okay. Love you, sis,” said Rachealle Schilling-Gamache, reading the text message she received from her sister Friday morning.
Standing beside Rachealle was her niece, Lyndsey Clements. Lyndsey looked down at the text message her mother had also sent to her.
“It was just an ‘I’m okay’ at 9:30 this morning,” Lyndsey said.
Rachealle’s sister and Lyndsey’s mom, Stephanie Schilling, and four other family members traveled to Haiti last week.
“I don’t think they figured it was going to be a category 4 hurricane,” Rachealle said.
Stephanie and family members, Sylvia Annis, Chelsey Crabtree, Rose Hickman and Quinntan Hickman knew Hurricane Matthew was coming, but that didn’t stop them from making the trip. Rachealle said they were volunteering for the family’s non-profit Living Water for Haiti.
“People are suffering down there and they have such loving souls that they didn’t care [about the hurricane], Rachealle said. “They wanted to get down there, give them the donations and maybe come back and return.”
Back home in Colorado, Rachealle and Lyndsey monitored Hurricane Matthew through social media as their family hunkered down in Jeremie, Haiti. The hardest part may have been losing cell phone connection.
“You try not to think the worst, but you do,” Rachealle said.
Lyndsey said her mother-in-law helped keep her calm over the last several days.
“I’ve had to kind of stop myself and just know that my mom is okay,” she said.
Two other members of the family couldn’t wait any longer. After having trouble reaching their wives, Mike Hickman and Jacob Crabtree hopped on planes bound for Haiti.
“So now, instead of five, there’s a total of seven that need to come back home,” Rachealle said.
While text messages can say a lot, there’s nothing like finally hearing a voice on the other line. Friday afternoon, Lyndsey and Rachealle were finally able to get ahold of Stephanie.
“Hi mom! How are you?!” Lyndsey said hearing her mother’s voice and fighting back tears.
Stephanie told Lyndsey and Rachealle she was safe in Port-au-Prince. She and most of the family hope to catch a flight to Colorado on Tuesday.
Copyright 2016 KUSA