Deer Park counseling center putting pieces back together after tornado rips through the area

Brooke Taylor Image
Monday, January 30, 2023
Counseling center in Deer Park looks to build back after tornado
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Two licensed counselors were completing a session with a young client when they got the alert that they were in the direct path of the tornado.

DEER PARK, Texas (KTRK) -- The owners of a counseling center in Deer Park are trying to get back on their feet so they can get back to helping people in the community.

"It's emotional to lose everything you have made your living with," Janet Martinez said.

Their business, JCM Counseling, was in the direct path of an EF3 tornado that hit on Tuesday and was destroyed.

RELATED: Storm damage seen across Pasadena after tornado hits during severe weather in SE Texas

Janet Martinez and Clara Monroe, both licensed counselors, were with clients when they got an alert to their phones.

"We immediately went into the bathroom, and 15 to 20 seconds later, it all came apart," Martinez said while choking back tears. "It was a secret place, we deal with a lot of traumatic issues, and it became a safe space."

"My client was a teenager and I was like, I have a teenager with me."

They were huddled in the bathroom, which they believed saved their lives. When they opened the door and looked outside, it was out of a movie.

"It reminds me of the movie The Day After Tomorrow," Martinez said. "There is a scene where the janitor opens the door, and there's nothing left. That's exactly what happened when I opened the door, and there was nothing but the floor."

While looking through piles of debris and rubble for their diplomas, it was a reminder of what they built and the many they have helped. It was essential to create a comfortable and safe environment.

SEE ALSO: 'Tell your loved ones I love you': Families struggling with major losses in Pasadena tornado

"We wanted people to feel at home and be able to talk to us," Martinez said. "Like you are sitting in our living room, and we have to refurnish four rooms all over again. We can do our work on camping chairs, but in order to make it the safe and cozy space it was, we have to buy everything all over again."

They are now looking for new office space, and this time they will get insurance for their furniture.

They are hoping to be up and running soon for their clients.

As licensed counselors, they said the best thing for people suffering right now is to talk about it.

"Talk, the more you talk about a traumatic event with someone trustworthy," Monroe said. "I have told my story so many times, and the more you tell it, it loses its power over you."

They have created a GoFundMe for anyone who can help.

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