So much has happened since Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Rockport on August 25 that it’s difficult to process everything. But out of all the loss and devastation, one thing has been clear: Our athletes, families, volunteers, coaches and law enforcement officers are strong. They are so strong.
Here’s just a taste of what our #SOTXSTRONG Family has been doing since Harvey made landfall:
Houston-area athlete Marcus Gary (pictured) and his family spent three days helping evacuate people and pets in the west Houston area. Once that task was completed, Marcus went back to work at Kroger, pulling a 10-hour shift.
Lumberton ISD coach Lori Dyess and her family helped evacuate people in her neighborhood – until they, themselves, were forced to evacuate because of the water flooding her home.
LETR partners including the Dallas Police Department, the Grand Prairie Police Department, the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Arlington Police Department sent teams to the Coastal Bend, Houston and Beaumont/Port Arthur to help rescue people and provide patrol back-up to our LETR partners in those areas.
Charla Hyles, an athlete from Wharton, has been working as a Red Cross volunteer.
Houston athlete Jackson Garrick and his family have been volunteering as much as possible, including helping muck out homes that were overrun in the flooding. Many other families and coaches reported that they were helping at emergency shelters in their communities.
Houston-area coach Michael McGaha’s home was high and dry but he couldn’t get back home because of high water, so he’s been helping other families in need.
Houston-area parent Kari Day – mom of athlete Shelby – reports that they’ve been helping run a shelter housing law enforcement officers: “We are all exhausted but well blessed. Personally, the best part of it all is when the officers tell us how Shelby has helped them get through this. From one of the officers, ‘We are away from our families. We come in from a long day and Shelby is there with her smile and hug and it helps us make it through the next day.’ They have fallen in love with Shelby and our community.”
Our great friends the Knights of Columbus have been helping out as well. The Humble Knights of Columbus, who have cooked for Area 4 events for years, went to Port Arthur to feed people and provide other help as needed.
Families have cooked for first responders and neighbors.
Jayden Jones, an athlete from Groves (in Area 5), and his family lost just about everything in the storm, but two wheelchairs made it through relatively unscathed…so he donated them to a local shelter.
The Forever Friends team from San Antonio collected two truckloads full of toiletries, cleaning supplies and clothing that were transported to Houston by John Roberson.
Katy Wolf Pack coach Sandi Dancil ordered new SOTX shirts for one of her athletes who was worried he’d miss state games.
Families have donated food, clothing and cleaning supplies.
At least one coach took some athletes out to bowl and eat – giving their families some time to regroup and rest a bit.
One theme that ran through all the reports we’ve received so far is that everyone is thankful, even in their loss. And we are so thankful for all of you.
“We have been helping since August 29th at our church, First United Methodist Church of Katy. Katy Christian Ministries was flooded, so they used our Family Life Center to accept and distribute donations. Shelby was there every day helping to sort donations and do whatever was needed. My husband and I helped with housing the first responders that have been housed there since that day. We have had high water rescue and out of state police officers and now mostly Texas State Troopers. There are about 50 there now. We have provided them with air mattresses, showers and a hot breakfast and dinner. We keep food available for those who are day sleepers or are in the area and want to stop by for lunch or a snack. The entire congregation and community have pitched in to help. Their laundry is being taken care of also. We are all exhausted but well blessed. Personally the best part of it all is when the officers tell us how Shelby has helped them get through this. From one of the officers "We are away from our families. We come in from a long day and Shelby is there with her smile and hug and it helps us make it through the next day." They have fallen in love with Shelby and our community.”
We are proud to be #SOTXSTRONG and hope you remember that we will get through these challenges … together.