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Family displaced by Harvey finds home in Idaho Falls

After losing almost everything they owned in Hurricane Harvey, one family is now calling Idaho Falls home.

“I feel very, very blessed,” Jessica Hash said.

One may feel surprised to hear Jessica Hash say this after hearing their story over the past two years.

Two years ago, the couple was attacked by a neighbor with a sword.

“I lost both of these fingers, then he cut my elbow,” Josh Darnell, Hash’s husband said. “Then I got backed into a back bedroom and then he cut into my knee and to the bottom of my leg. My wife barged in and she said, ‘Put down the sword and fight me like a man.’ And if it wasn’t for her, I don’t know if I’d be here.”

Jessica’s head was cut open and was stabbed through the shoulder three times. Doctors told them they died multiple times that night.

“You go into a hospital room and the doctor’s look at you,” Hash said. “You can just see it on their face that they’re scared and that they don’t know if, what they’re going to be able to do to help you. That’s the moment when the fear actually sets in.”

Both miraculously survived and spent nine months in the hospital recovering. Soon after, they moved to Houston to re-start their life. They moved into a trailer and things were moving along, until Hurricane Harvey came.

“We did not think that this was gonna hit,” Darnell said. “I honestly, I was like, high winds, maybe some tree branches, at most a broken window. The oak tree fell down on our trailer and there’s two beams underneath it. One was up six feet and the other was up four feet.”

They took their six-year-old daughter and went to Georgia to stay with a friend to escape Harvey. However, Hurricane Irma came and caused them to move again. There was no shelter openings in Texas or Oklahoma. They headed north to Salt Lake City. They again had no luck after two days of searching, until they met Idaho Falls resident David Pipkin at a rest stop in Brigham City.

My wife has a big heart, David Pipkin said. I didn’t know what else to do for them. My wife said “Bring them home!”

They stayed with the Pipkins in Idaho Falls for five days. Josh got a job, but they struggled to find housing. They eventually found an apartment and are settling into a new life. Despite all these setbacks they never lost faith.

“Every time there was a disappointment, their response was, ‘I know I can count on the Lord,'” Susannah Pipkin said. “I know this is stressful, but I know I can count on the Lord. And I was like, dang.”

Josh and Jessica now plan on staying in Idaho Falls. Their neighbor who attacked them, Richard Earl Towne II, is still on the loose. They have a GoFundMe page to help replace their belongings they had to sell. If you wish to donate, you can do so here.

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