One year later, teen's life still different

September 9, 2009 5:29:38 PM PDT
Just hours after Hurricane Ike slammed into the coast, the small town of Gilchrist on the Bolivar Peninsula was almost wiped off the map. Residents who finally did return found very little was left.[IKE ANNIVERSARY: Take a look back at the storm that changed SE Texas]

Even though twelve months have passed, the loss of lives and property make it a struggle to recover. We were able to track down one teenage boy whom we spoke with last year about the loss of his grandmother and home. Even a year later, life is very, very different.

You might remember 16-year-old Jerrith Baird. The boy we found last year was wandering the rubble of Gilchrist, desperately searching for his 58-year-old grandmother.

"I found her car in the bay. It really doesn't look good," said Jerrith.

His grandmother was eventually found dead three months later, washed up on a shore 12 miles from their destroyed home. We returned to the Bolivar Peninsula this week to search for Jerrith.

After driving for miles and asking lots of questions, we eventually got a solid tip. It was like meeting an old friend. Jerrith was working on his bike.

"Trying to get it running again. I had it running for a little while, but I had to rebuild the motor," said Jerrith.

That's not all that has not been going very well.

"Well, after the storm I lost a lot of friends, and a lot of my family moved away," said Jerrith.

With his grandmother gone, Jerrith really has no family to speak of. No steady work, and emotionally, the disaster zone is still too difficult to visit.

"Down this way, I don't know, it's very depressing to go down there and see everything gone," said Jerrith.

Hundreds of people used to live here, including Jerrith and his grandmother, but with his grandmother gone and their home destroyed, Jerrith has had to start a whole new life.

"It's changed dramatically," said Jerrith.

There is a remarkable resilience within Jerrith. He hasn't lost his ambitions to be an engineer.

"Yea, I had some doubts, I wasn't sure if I wanted to do that, but I thought about it and it's going to be worth it," said Jerrith.

Until then, it's back to the shed to keep busy, save money, and think about the future.

"I don't know, it's hard to forget something like that," said Jerrith.

Still Jerrith pushes forward. Despite missing a couple of months, he graduated from high school. He's trying to go to college, but has few funds. Working and saving money are on his agenda.

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