Widow gets help from Harris Co. Appraisal District after husband missed hearing while he was in coma

HARRIS COUNTY, Texas (KTRK) -- Like many of us, Amanda Cantley's yard requires clean up from Hurricane Nicholas, but the person who often handled tasks like that is no longer here to do it.

"When that storm came through, I was scared," Amanda recalled Wednesday during an interview with ABC13's Adam Winkler. "I was by myself. He was our protector."

Amanda is now a widow.

Her husband Blake passed away a month ago. He was 39 years old. The children he leaves behind are seven and five.

"I'm heartbroken. He was my husband and my best friend, and our children are so young," Amanda said. "We're trying to get organized. My husband took care of a lot."

Among his tasks: handling property value disputes for the family's home in the Lakeside Forest subdivision near Memorial.

Amanda said Blake missed a scheduled appraisal review board hearing because he was on a ventilator in a medically-induced coma.

Without a hearing, the home's value increased $250,000, which puts her and her kids at risk of losing their house.

"Our neighbors have become extended family to us," Amanda pointed out. "So us losing our house or our community on top of that would be devastating."

Amanda showed ABC13 the correspondence she sent to the Harris County Appraisal Review Board requesting the hearing be rescheduled.

A request she learned via a letter dated Sep. 8 was not granted.

"I understand there are policies and rules in place, but I think we're all still human," Amanda said. "If someone physically can't attend a meeting because they're so sick that they're hospitalized in the ICU, I think exceptions should be made."

In this case, exceptions will be made.

Action 13 took Amanda's issue to the Harris County Appraisal District.

Chief Communications Officer Jack Barnett said the taxpayer liaison officer, who was unaware of the situation until Wednesday morning, will work with Amanda to schedule a new hearing, if it's even needed.

"We certainly don't want to cause any additional problems for her considering what she's already been through," Barnett told ABC13. "We are trying to resolve any issues beforehand by having one of our senior residential appraisers look at the account to see if anything can be resolved so that they don't even have to get to that re-hearing."

It's a welcoming resolution for a family trying to pick up the pieces and weather the storm.

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