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Remembering Harvey Victim: Retired Teacher Ruben Jordan

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And I'm David Greene reporting this morning from Houston, Texas. Flash flood warnings are in effect east of here right now along the Texas-Louisiana border. Some areas may get as much as a foot of rainfall.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

More than 30,000 people are already in emergency shelters along the Gulf Coast, and hundreds of thousands are without power. Also without power, at least one chemical plant that officials say is bound to see explosions from volatile compounds that are usually kept under refrigeration.

GREENE: Yeah. We'll be watching that. And also around Houston, as we saw yesterday, the floodwaters have started to recede, but with that comes this grim reality. More than two dozen deaths have been confirmed, but that number, sadly, is expected to go up as search and rescue efforts go on.

MARTIN: One of the people who's died in all this is a man named Ruben Jordan. He was a retired teacher. And as his friends and colleagues describe it, he was a pillar of the community.

MARY LATULIP: There are about 100,000 people in the town where we live, and coach Jordan probably knew most of them.

GREENE: That's Mary LaTulip (ph). She worked with Jordan for 30 years at Clear Creek High School.

MARTIN: Ruben Jordan taught social studies there, and he coached football and track. More than that, though, he was a mentor and a role model for his students. They all knew him as coach Jordan.

JAMIE BROWNSEND: He was just there. He was just, you know, kind of a force of nature.

GREENE: That's Jamie Brownsend (ph). She says she's known coach Jordan almost her entire life. She grew up in his neighborhood. And when she got to high school, he was her teacher and coach.

MARTIN: After college, Brownsend went back to Clear Creek to teach, and coach Jordan became her mentor. She still remembers the advice he gave her when she was just beginning as a teacher.

BROWNSEND: He just reminded me that we were teaching kids. We weren't teaching subjects, you know. We weren't teaching science, we weren't teaching math, but if we could remember we were teaching kids - that it was all about kids, it was about the relationships - the rest will work itself out.

GREENE: Wynette Jameson (ph) worked with coach Jordan for 25 years. She saw how he would interact with his students.

WYNETTE JAMESON: He could laser in on what a child needed and speak to them about that that day.

GREENE: Now, since coach Jordan's death was confirmed, Jameson has been collecting messages about him online. She is planning on putting them in a book and giving that to his family.

MARTIN: One thing Wynette herself never wants to forget is coach Jordan's sense of humor.

JAMESON: You know, I've cried and cried and cried till I don't know if I can cry anymore. But I do miss the fact that he made me laugh so darn hard, and I miss him for that, for sure. The joy that he brought to the campus, you know.

MARTIN: Coach Ruben Jordan is survived by his two children. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.