From Hurricane Laura Evacuee to Bride

By Lisa Morgan, staff contributor, Red Cross North Texas Region

Every disaster is different. Every family’s response or needs are as unique as they are. Hurricane Laura has changed a lot of things for Lake Charles residents Carol (Guillory) Thomas and her husband Demetrius Thomas. On September 29, they exchanged vows in the courtyard of their emergency lodging site. The long-standing couple said it felt like the right time to do everything. The hurricane might have destroyed all of their material possessions but it strengthened their bond, their love and commitment for one another.

Demetrius Thomas and Carol (Guillory) Thomas of Lake Charles at their wedding
Photo: Mark Bishop/Red Cross NTX

“The hurricane was the best thing that happened to us,” Carol said. “It made us stop and take a break. Losing everything and being displaced gave us enough time to tend to our medical needs. We discovered Demetrius was diabetic. Had the hurricane not happened he would have just kept going to work and who knows what might have happened.”

It takes a village to respond to disasters. “Red Cross and FEMA are amazing at providing the support and resources to help you get back on your feet,” Carol said. “If you can’t make it work then you don’t want to do the work to make it work.”

Red Crossers congratulating Carol and Demetrius Thomas
Photo: Mark Bishop/Red Cross NTX

Weddings aren’t exactly what Red Cross is known for; however, this special couple was fortunate that Beverly Martin, staff member, Red Cross North Texas Region was available to lend a hand. “I just wanted to do something special for them. This a rare opportunity for us and it meant so much to be able to be part of their special day and to see the joy on their faces,” said Beverly.

“It was perfect! It was everything I could have dreamed come true,” Carol said. “I felt like Cinderella. It was just like a fairy tale.”

Helping individuals and families map out their on path to recovery is a key ingredient to developing their resiliency. The Thomas family charting their path included their wedding, coordinated by Red Cross and access to resources as they make the decision on relocating or going back home to Lake Charles.

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