Houston Harvey Hurricane
With the exception of one fast food worker in Fort Worth, most people have heard about what the hurricane Harvey has done to Houston. We’re reporting today from Houston where we’ve spent the last few days doing some filming and lending some helping hands.
The drive from Fort Worth Dallas was pretty much a non-event. On Thursday morning when we left, there were some gas stations in the DFW area that were closed. So we drove with the philosophy of refilling when we got down to 3/4’s of a tank. But we never had any issues. As we neared Houston, we still couldn’t see any of the devastation we were seeing on the news. And fuel was fine and actually cheaper than DFW prices.
As we headed to our clients headquarters near the NRG Stadium, the only clue was a shut down of the Sam Houston Tollway as it went into Sugarland– we could just make out the water over the highway. We arrived at our clients building and got to work.
We drove into some surrounding neighborhoods and that’s where we saw the devastation. It was a bright and sunny day (the second since the hurricane hit), and all seemed normal– until you see yard after yard of furniture, mattresses, dry wall, all stacked, in some cases over our heads next to the curb.
People were very busy cleaning up. If you look at each house, the floodwaters left a mark where they topped out at. Some were a foot. Other neighborhoods had water marks much higher. We talked with one survivor who hasn’t been allowed back to her house in Katy, Texas. She’s told they still have four feet of water. It was over their chest on the night that had to be rescued by the coast guard.
We helped one of our Encore friends clean out his house. Old albums and pictures ruined and tossed in the trash. The “keep” pile noticeably smaller than the “trash” pile.
We are able to see first hand the strength of these people. And not just Houstonians. We saw trucks with license plates from Missouri, Alabama, Louisiana and others. Everyone wants to help and that brings people to tears here.
Some people have insurance. Some don’t. We talked to one woman who has lost literally everything but the clothes she’s wearing. Her co-workers at Mattress Firm brought her a bunch of clothes.
We stopped by the refugee center at the NRG Stadium, (host of the Super Bowl six months ago). There were blackhawks flying constantly overhead, mobile command centers set up in the parking lot, and supplies stacked, being distributed. One of the center’s guys told us they were not taking individual donations anymore. They could handle pallets, but not the smaller stuff.
Today, Saturday, we’re going to some more houses to help the cleanup. We’re short of masks, water proof gloves and water boots or waders. There’s no more plastic gas cans on the shelves. But the Houston spirit is strong and alive. And there is an amazing amount of love, generosity and community down here.