Sunday, February 28, 2021

Moses Lake woman stranded in Texas gets help from strangers

Staff Writer | February 23, 2021 1:00 AM

MOSES LAKE — Amy Dana, of Moses Lake, traveled to San Antonio as the makeup artist for her friend Anna Hiatt, of Arlington, Washington, competing in the United States of America’s Mrs. 2021 pageant President’s Day weekend. But, what was supposed to be a fun trip to a nice warm place turned into a stressful and scary couple of days in the aftermath of a snowstorm.

Dana said it also was an example of friends connecting and some stranded travelers helped by strangers.

“I got stuck in the ‘snowmageddon’ of San Antonio,” Dana said Sunday from Florida, where she is visiting family.

The Feb. 14 storm covered most of the central United States and extended into south Texas including San Antonio. The region was hit with cold, freezing rain and what Dana estimated was four inches of snow.

The storm hit just as the pageant finals were ending, Dana said.

“The snow just blew right in,” she said.

When morning came, San Antonio was shut down. Hiatt was headed back to Washington, and Dana was going on to Florida. Those flights were canceled. They had not planned for winter weather and hadn’t really packed clothes for it.

Then it became clear the hotel was running out of food. They bundled up in the warmest clothes they could find and searched for an open grocery store. They found one, but its shelves were mostly bare.

“There was cereal, but there was no milk,” Dana said.

She found a can of chili, some protein drinks and a few other edibles, which she and Hiatt shared with two friends from the pageant.

Hotel officials then announced over the intercom water was being shut off.

“That’s when we started scrambling,” Dana said.

They filled wastebaskets and bottles with whatever water was left in the hotel. Being from the Pacific Northwest, they knew how to camp and how to make it work, Dana said.

But it was a challenging situation.

“Just really stressful and scary,” she said.

She had already contacted her friends back home in Moses Lake, to see if they had connections in Texas who might be able to help find supplies, since air travel was shut down.

Her friend Jodi Truman contacted her sister, Angie Correa, who lives in San Antonio. Correa “went above and beyond,” Dana said.

Correa offered the four women a place to stay, a house next door to the Correa residence the family is selling.

“These people gave us shelter, they gave us food,” Dana said.

Most of Texas experienced rolling blackouts, including every neighborhood in the immediate vicinity of the house they were staying in – except their neighborhood, Dana said. They lost water for one day.

They even got a chance to go sightseeing as the weather eased. Dana said she was impressed by the sight of the Alamo covered in ice and snow.

The snow melted, but a second storm dropped what Dana estimated was another four inches, which canceled Hiatt’s second flight. Dana managed to leave Friday, but Hiatt had to wait until Saturday.

Dana said she was thankful to have such a warm and welcoming host family.

“We were really well taken care of, and it shows true Southern hospitality,” she said.