I’ll begin by saying all my family and friends are safe and suffered no major damage from the hurricane. Some were close, some evacuated, but all were fortunate. Being a native Houstonian living in Austin, it was very difficult to watch the news and see the images of our wonderful city in turmoil. I struggled at not being there to provide physical assistance to those in need. Of course, I made my donations and will continue to look for ways to help in the coming months, but I couldn’t shake the feeling of helplessness I experienced.
This week I drove down to visit with friends in some of the impacted areas. I was encouraged to see the city operating at full force. I did pass many houses and businesses with piles of debris and rubble on the curb. Neighbors were helping neighbors, strangers were helping strangers, there’s been plenty of stories and pictures. The contributions and donations have been amazing and too many to list. I must mention one in particular, J.J. Watt. This guy, a star player for the Houston Texans, began a fundraising campaign with a goal of $750,000. As of writing this, he has raised over $17 MILLION. And he hasn’t just spearheaded a monetary fundraising event, he has been physically working with volutneers to sort, stack and distribute. And the guy has a NFL season starting this week! Shout out to his teammates who are helping as well.
We went to the Astros game and there was excitement and energy and pride, an abundance of pride! As a native Houstonian, I felt it. My heart swelled with hope and pride. Volunteers and responders were recognized, the mayor threw out the first pitch, the players wore patches, and the Astros swept the weekend series.
There are many areas outside of Houston that are dealing with enormous repercussions of the hurricane. Places like Rockport, which still has no electricity, water, or operating infrastructure. These people and places need to be remembered and assisted also.
I still feel I can personally do more to help the city that raised me (technically I was raised in Spring, NW Houston, which suffered major damage as well). As the weeks go by and the urgency and awareness begins to diminish, as happens with all major world disasters, I will pray and search for ways I can contribute. Until then…#HoustonStrong!