Couple reunited on Port Bolivar

September 18, 2008 6:51:21 PM PDT
A Port Bolivar couple has been reunited in the aftermath of Hurricane Ike. Renee Ochoa was airlifted by the Coast Guard from her home while her husband, a disabled vet, stayed behind. HURRICANE IKE: Breaking news on Ike | POD locations | Person locator | Local gas station report | Hurricane guide | Viewer photos of Ike

A resident of Port Bolivar, Renee knows the road ahead is filled with uncertainty in the wake of Hurricane Ike, yet she's compelled to return home.

"(I'm) anxious, scared, worried," she said. "I have every emotion that you don't want to feel at one time."

It's not the property she's concerned about. It's her husband Israel. The 60-year-old disabled Vietnam vet rode out the storm with his three dogs, 20 cats, and a few friends. Her only communication with him has been through other people.

Renee explained, "He sounds good, but he sounds like he's had enough emotionally."

We accompanied Renee on her hour and a half journey aboard a 21-foot explorer that will take her across the choppy waters of Galveston Bay to Bolivar, where she and her husband reunited.

"I'm ready for a big hug," Renee said. "He survived, it's amazing."

After the happy reunion, Israel insists leaving is not that simple.

He said, "Sure, I'm ready to leave. I'm concerned about those animals."

From the dock, we loaded in the back of the Ochoas' pickup truck for the ride home. Though it's still standing, the Ochoas' home and the surrounding landscape is forever changed. Now that they're back together, the reality is finally sinking in.

Israel planned to leave with the dogs "with the trucks today. We'll come back for the kitties. That's it."

The couple says they plan to drive out of Port Bolivar today with their animals. Israel Ochoa says he's about one of six people remaining in the community of Port Bolivar.

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