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Erath honors eight men who died in Hurricane Hilda

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Posted at 6:23 AM, Oct 01, 2021

This weekend marks a tragic anniversary of the deaths of eight men in Erath during Hurricane Hilda. Decades later, the town is honoring these men in a special way.

"It was such a tragic incident that happened, eight men dying all at one time, that the people just kind of buried their sorrow," says Jackie Vincent.

For years Jackie worked with her son and the town to get some recognition for these men.

They were inside City Hall when the Erath water tower collapsed during Hurricane Hilda. While most evacuated, they stayed back to watch over the town.

"Three of them were civil service defense workers. The other people came in to pull branches off of lines, to pull trees off of roads. They stayed while all the others left, to protect the town," says Vincent whose son Robert also thought of them as heroes.

Robert Vincent passed last October, but it was one of his dying wishes to memorialize these men in a permanent way.

"He was always interested in honoring these eight men, because he felt like the school children didn't know about the history. And the school children walk right here every day. And most of them don't even know the leg of the tower still stands here," says Jackie.

On Sunday, there will be a plaque presentation at 4:00 pm on the site where the men died, next to a new mural and the last remains of where the water tower once stood.

Jackie Vincent, Mayor Taylor Mencacci and one of the only survivors of the tragedy, Martial Broussard, will all be there for the dedication. A priest will also bless the site.