For many people, the mental images of Hurricane Harvey hitting the Texas coast will fade away, but for SFA guard John Comeaux they are still very much part of his life.
In Late August, Harvey hit the Texas coast and caused four days of wide spread flooding from areas near Corpus Christi all the way into Louisiana. Harvey was the costliest storm in U.S. history, causing approximately $125 billion in damages. There was not much on Beaumont that went un-damaged. 130 miles north of Beaumont, Comeaux is trying to balance the daily grind f being a student athlete along with knowing what happened to his hometown.
Comeaux is new to the Lumberjack family. He joined the school this year after playing at the junior college level last year for Lamar State - Port Arthur. He joined the college ranks after a successful high school career at Beaumont Ozen.
While Harvey was sending tropical storm force winds into his family and friends' homes in Beaumont, Comeaux was getting adjusted to life on campuses in Nacogdoches.
"It was pretty tough not being there for my family," Comeaux said. "Not being there for them and being there to support them."
Comeaux would watch the news reports and would call his family.
"We would pray for and with each other," Comeaux said. "It was not pleasant but it seems to have worked out."
The images he saw on the news and the word he was told by those he loved still stick with him.
"It was kind of weird because you would not think of Beaumont being that bad," Comeaux said. "I could see a tornado but not a flood. It was out of the ordinary."
While he settled in, his family at home did have some worries.
"They were terrified because they were not sure what would happen next," Comeaux said.
It would be understandable that someone going through what the sophomore was going through would shut down and possibly go back home. A strong support group of veteran players would not let that happen.
"I never felt alone," Comeaux said. "They have been leading me the right way. They are teaching me everything that I know. This is a family. This is a lot different than the junior college level I was in last year."
Learning to play for coach Kyle Keller is not always an enjoyable moment. After Wednesday's win over New Orleans, the team was given a day off from practice. Comeaux enjoyed his day and joked about not having to run the floor. Even though he jokes, he does respect what Keller has done. Keller will push the team but he knows by the end the players will leave different then when they entered the gym.
"[Comeaux] refuses to take no for his life," Keller said. "If there is only two people in front of him, he will try to find a third to go through on the court. He looks to accept challenges. If you tell him no, he will go 'Oh, I can do that'. He has done well in the class room. his adjustments have been good. He has accepted his role and not complained one bit. That is our whole team."
That attitude of not giving up may have been learned from the street of Beaumont where the community rallied together and supported each other even as the flood waters continued to rise.
"It is a resilient town, that is for sure," Comeaux said.
He might also get it from the East Texas spirit. The guard did admit he was inspired when he saw many people on the campus of SFA and in the Nacogdoches community give their time and money to help the people in his home town.
He has not been back much. He did take a short trip over Christmas to see family and friends. He is excited for the next time he goes back on Feb.3 when the SFA Lumberjacks play Lamar. There should be a large number of Lamar fans, but you can bet that a good amount of Beaumont natives will be cheering on Comeaux and his second family for at least one night.
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