Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Tragic Story of Gail Ettenger...

I have been receiving emails from so many of you letting us know who has survived and who is still missing and we have been trying to post them and add the names to our Survivor's List or our Missing Persons list. It saddens me to say that one particular person's search for a missing person has ended. Jackie sent me these emails concerning her close friend, Gail and it puts a face on a tragic story to one person that did not survive Ike:

rj4ever214@aol.com 9-21-2008
Looking for Gail Ettenger...Gail lived towards the Inter Coastal on the end of Yacht Basin Road. She had the Great Dane, Reba.I know she stayed and the last time anyone talked to her was on Fri. pm @ 10:10 pm, while thingswere floating past.....We have spoken to her significant others, and they have heard nothing .....If you get any info, please email me: Jackie Hardaway

Jackie,Gail Ettenger has not been given to me as a survivor as of yet, but that does not mean she didn't make it out. There are several evacuees that have NO idea we are looking for them on our website. This page on our website was created to help family and friends who are looking for them to sound out and let's try to help find each other. I will pray that we find her name will make it's way on our Survivor's List. Good luck and may God bless! Connie TomerlinGCA

rj4ever214@aol.com 9-26-2008
I am sorry to report that she is deceased. They recovered her body from East of 562. She is the female found in Southern Chambers County. The confirmation came by phone Thursday pm. She loved living in Gilchrist off Yacht Basin Road. She made her choice to live near the beach, and the water claimed her life. My returning to the area will be a very sad one, because she will no longer bewaiting with Reba, her great dane dog, to go play in the water. We spent many a day, fishing and playing at the Pass. She will be missed! I pray that others will be found, because the thought of not ever knowing for sure asto what happened to them, leaves you empty. God bless, and thank you for posting.......Jackie Hardaway, rj4ever214@aol.com PS: her precious dog, Reba, is still missing too.

Jackie,I am so very sorry for your loss! My prayers are with you. Can I post your email on to our Blogspot? I will understand if you do not want it posted. Let me know and again, my prayers are with you and Gail's family. Connie TomerlinGCA

rj4ever214@aol.com 9-27-2008
Connie, Thank you so much for your condolences. I have no problem with you posting this to your blog.I was at Gilchrist yesterday. The pictures you see that are posted at various areas, just don't give the true meaning of the massive loss which all who lived, or visited the area, have suffered. As you walk through the de brie field, following the path of your belongings, your heart swells and sinks, as you come upon something that was yours. My sister and her husband lost a beach house and a lot of personal items, and this is a tragedy for them, but they still have their home in East Texas to live in and continue their lives. Many others have nothing at all. Friends and family left with the idea that they would take a few days clothing.....saying that they would be back in a couple of days, to start their cleanup....living with their generators, as in past hurricanes, until the utilities were back on and life at the beach would continue as normal. Now, there is no "normal" and the "spirit" has been devastated. And when I went to Gail's "little piece of heaven on earth", my sister said it best......looking at the little piece of concrete where her house once stood...... "this is so sad, that this is all that is left of her life!" Gail made her choice to stay as she had always done in the past; never giving any thought to the massive wall of water, because the past high water, was never like this! In talking with Gail on Thursday, she was preparing by drawing her tub of water, ice in chests, securing her treasures inside and outside, taping her windows, etc.. She kept reassuring me and her close friends that "she and baby girl" would be fine. Phone calls she made on Friday, started becoming anxious; even mentioning that a close male friend told her, he would come and pick her up, so that they could leave......but he never showed up! Her last phone call to her friend and neighbor on Friday night, was a realization on her part, that she had made a very bad decision to stay. She was scared, describing what was going on outside and around her, now opening her windows due to the pressure. Pleas for Gail to seek higher ground, to put on a life jacket, and to get out of her house were too late.....the water was too strong and swift... then she said her goodbyes with a wrenching voice...she ended the call......and there was silence....the phone was dead and no one would here her voice again. The emptiness of the land, the brown vegetation, and the blank piece of concrete, which was her front porch,are what remains. Gail had such a beautiful yard with lots of flowers, green with life from the birds and allthe neighbor's cats and strays, which she so abundantly fed on a daily basis. She would go to the North End Bait Shop, and leave food for the cats. She had a heart of gold, when it came to giving to others..... whether it was people or animals. But don't get me wrong, she also was outspoken about anythingshe disagreed with too! She didn't care what others thought of her.....but she looked out for her neighbors and their belongings, as if she was the "guard on duty". She slept little and was a very private person aboutherself. She will be missed....for me, this is hard to accept, because this was a preventable death....had she only left the peninsula. My prayer is that she is at peace. I am amazed that her body was found so far from her home. It only signifies how massive and strong thewater was when it arrived. It gives me a peace in my heart just to know for sure, that she is gone. There are still many missing....and Gilchrist will never look the same....it will be a long road to put the community back together. People are scattered near and far....and we all must grieve over what it used to be....many changes will be made, and a new life for all. May God's blessings be on all! Jackie Hardaway

2 comments:

jibrig53 said...

I am so sad to hear about Gail and Reba. God love them they are together in a better place...bless them both esp. Gail for loving animals and her carved out place in this world cannot be filled.

Lisa Upchurch said...

Gail was a dear friend of mine. She,Reb's and I would walk the beach,sip wine,and laugh. She would always cook Reb's and I a true gourmet meal while listening to Michael Mcdonald and many others. Gail and Reba were Beautiful Souls and the world should know that it is a lessor and darker place without them. Gail and Trb's will truely be missed. They are walking in the light,trust me.