'We thank God': Family paying it forward after Hurricane Harvey fame

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FAITHFULLY OPTIMISTIC: Jeremiah Richard and his family are recovering after being evacuated from their home via helicopter.

When we last saw Jeremiah Richard and his family, they were in the eye of the proverbial storm. Fresh off an evacuation from their apartment in helicopters. And yet they were thankful.

"We thank God," he said on Aug. 27 as the rain poured into bayous and rivers and creeks, "We thank God."


Now, eight days later, living in a hotel with an uncertain future, they still radiate an infectious optimism.

"I wasn't worried because at the end of the day, God has taken care of our family so many times," said Sabrina Richard.

"We feel like there's no point of being down or playing the victim role when we weren't victims," added Jeremiah.

In some ways Jeremiah came to symbolize hope. He was a buoy for a region underwater. People from around the world have offered them clothing, food, cars, cash, and a place to stay.

"We understand that people have been a blessing to us, so we have to pass along the blessing," he said, promising to pay it forward with donations to others in need. Their GoFundMe account online has raised more than $70,000 as of late Monday, Sept. 4.

As grateful as they are, and as much as they know there is a purpose to their plight, not everything is easy. They have two boys. Jeremiah Jr., 6, and Ja'Shaun, 4.

"I know Junior is at that age where he is asking questions," said Sabrina. "Like I know when he was in the shower, the water was a little high and he was worried that it was going to flood. But I told him it's going to go down the drain and it's okay. But they're okay"

The Richard family did endure something traumatic, as countless thousands of families did, have, and are. The pain is especially acute for children. Psychotherapist Micki Grimland suggested, as parents you should be honest, while at the same time comforting.

RELATED: How to talk to your children about Hurricane Harvey

"You talk to them encouragingly and you say, 'It's a scary thing when it happens. It's a dangerous thing when it happens. However, we're educated, we know how to help ourselves when things like this are going to happen. And then you explain those things to the kids," said Grimland.

Communication, sharing, extra hugs, all of those make a difference, she advised, no matter who you are or how you escaped the flood.

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