Decades Worth of Data Recovered from Hurricane Harvey

Tuesday, May 22, 2018 by Michael Nuncic

As you all have seen on TV - or might have been affected by yourself – Hurricane Harvey was one of the costliest hurricanes to ever hit the United States. Last year it made landfall in late August and with it came catastrophic rainfall-triggered flooding in the Houston metropolitan area and other regions in its path. Since the storm was so huge, it was soaked up and pushed water from the Gulf of Mexico into the Bay of both Galveston and Port Arthur. Not only caused the hurricane 106 deaths, but also created huge damages of an estimated $ 125 billion in total.

But those figures never really show the real horror of those effected by Hurricane Harvey. Many Texans lost everything and people and companies from around the country, as well as the whole world, wanted to help, including Ontrack.  We did not only sent employees to the region to help, but also offered data recovery services free of charge to people that lost their precious personal data in the flood. In total, Ontrack donated $500,000 in in recovery services.

But this was not a simple marketing effort, but sincere help offered to those in need, since many people - not only in the US - have important data for example to prove their ownership of the house or household goods for the insurance agencies or in this case to the FEMA to get indemnifications solely on their computers.

Such a case was a victim named Marlon from Lumberton, Texas just north of Beaumont and Port Arthur.  After his house was flooded he called Ontrack for help, not knowing that the company had a special offer for victims of Hurricane Harvey.

Here is what he wrote us:

A few weeks ago, my life was as normal as it gets owning a Family Entertainment Park in Lumberton, Texas called Adventure Kingdom.  Then came Hurricane Harvey dumping some 52" of rain on our property and the lakes north of us having to open their dams to let out water so that they would not break.  Total devastation!  No more normal life!  We had 10 feet of water in the front of our 7 acres wide park and 16 feet in the back of the park.  Everything that I had worked for in 33 years was gone overnight.

We are in the process of selling our property, equipment, home, and then moving to help a friend open a storage facility in Livingston, TX.  When I saw some drone footage of our property, I knew it was over. I told myself I am not going to cry!  One of my biggest losses was my computer with 33 years of data.  Believe it or not, my very first PC was purchased in 1985 with a whopping 10 MB drive (the biggest at the time), then an AT with 20 MB, and so on.  I had an external Western Digital backup hard drive, but after checking it, it had not been backed up since 2014.  I was devastated again!

I went to my local computer shop and they said it would cost me $400 for one file.  Yep, $400 for ONE file and up to $2,000 for what they could recover.  Walking out of the store, I was like I can't win for losing!  Then, a friend told me that she had read on Facebook about a company helping flood victims out, but she couldn't remember the company's name.

So I Googled it and came across your name on a blog.  I called Ontrack and got a hold of a rep named Mary.  I told her my story and she said, "Well, just send us the hard drive and we will do our best and try to recover as much as possible."  Then I asked her, "How much?" and Mary said the magic words, "FREE!"  I busted out crying and couldn’t talk anymore.  It took me a long time before I could gain my composure.  I know Mary remembers this moment.  Then, I asked how do I get the data back?  Do I get online and download it?  And, she said, "No, we will mail it back to you on an external hard drive."  Well, crud, I begin crying all over again.  And then, she said, "Also, we are going to email you a UPS call tag and you can ship it to us for FREE."  There I went again, crying all over my nice shirt!  Today, Mary called me back and said that y'all (Texas term for You All) were able to recover most of the data and were shipping me the external drive.  And, you guessed it...I started crying again.  When I gathered myself together, I told her that most Texans don't cry like I do.  But, what Ontrack did for me is help me climb out of the deep hole that I am in, dust myself off and get back to climbing mountains.

Thank you for everything that you did for me!  I am truly THANKFUL!  And, best of all, please let Mary know that I am not crying!

For more information and tips on how Ontrack can help you recover your important data in case of flooding and water-damage, fires, or other natural disasters, visit our natural disasters page.