Before Hurricane Harvey was just like any other hurricane scare in the past that I’ve ever experienced meaning I’m going to prepare but I won’t overdo it. It’s probably going to miss us and if it does, it won’t cause much havoc. I’ve lived through a lot of scares but never a direct hit. I was hoping I could still work and days would go about as normal. I remember it was the last day my neighborhood clubhouse pool was going to be open so I even stopped at Toys r us and picked up an inner tube my daughter could swim better in the pool in. I didn’t start to get worried until the day before and I stayed glued to the tv tracking it. I kept seeing that the intensity would be stronger than previously noted and that it wouldn’t leave once it hit. I had a lot of traffic from customers I never worked with before wanting to set up camps. the phones rang off the hook. We prepared at the office to make sure the equipment would stay dry and it could be rented. Even while that was happening everyone was saying…” it’s probably not going to hit but we’ll just take precautions”.
The day it hit I was watching on tv while it came in and decimated my hometown of Corpus Christi and all the beach towns I went to all my life. towns destroyed in a day. I kept in contact with all my friends and family as much as I could but I knew they were having to deal with it in real time and me calling would only be a distraction. Thank God everyone I know is okay was all I could think.my parents, extended family, and friends were all without power too.Now the eye of the hurricane was heading north straight towards Houston.
Harvey is here. rain, calls, rain, calls, rain rain rain, call. The phones didn’t stop ringing from the earliest of the morning to the latest at night. It just didn’t stop. Family time was nonexistent but that’s the price we had to pay. People needed help and I did what I could. It was hard not having enough equipment and hearing stories of what everyone was going through. I was getting more calls and called my competitors more than I did directly with customers. Having my family in the room for a week straight and I barely talked to them. Every call I took wasn’t just one call and send the equipment, It was a call from the customer, a call to Roy, a call to the office, a call back to the customer if there was anything I missed. a call back to Roy to see if anything changed on delivery. Oh, I forgot to mention just about every major highway was under water. i10,59/69, 288, 45, most of the grand parkway and parts of 610 were under water.I couldn’t physically make it into the office. I remember watching the news 24/7 to see what roads would potentially open during the storm. Every time there was a glimmer of hope, a damn would be released and a new area would flood. I had to cancel jobs in certain areas because we or anyone for that matter, couldn’t make it to that area because they were Islands. Beaumont lost power and water.
After the storm had settled, the assessment of the damage was taken. It was the worst and most damaging in recorded history. Areas were under water. That Toys R Us I mentioned along with a Costco, Kohls, Heb, Target, Best Buy, etc….were all under water. This was 2 miles from my house. All of Kingwood, where my daughter’s daycare was located was underwater. My subdivision was an island. I could remember a feeling of gratefulness and guilt at the same time because of how bad so many people had it. .I along with millions of others couldn’t help because we had our own families and property to protect and frankly didn’t have boats. I was in a position to profit at the same time which didn’t help. I took comfort in knowing that I was a part of the solution and not the problem because there were a lot of people exploiting the problem. It was also just a matter of circumstance that we had what people needed similar to hotel, vehicle sales, furniture sales, raw material sales, etc
The shimmering beacon of hope and the silver lining in the destruction was the sense of community you felt from seeing stories of people helping people. Everything that makes people different took a back seat to the similarities we shared. We were from Houston, we were in trouble, we needed help. Race, ethnicity, religion, and gender didn’t make a difference. People poured in from other states to help and lend a hand. Giving was in abundance. I don’t know anyone in Houston that didn’t give whether it be their personal time, money, or material belongings. It was great to see people come together. I remember seeing pro-NFL players loading people in boats. I never heard of the Cajun Navy till the hurricane. All this was a reminder that we would endure and persevere. Did I forget to mention people the calls, calls, calls, calls for people needing equipment after the storm? That didn’t stop until October and the Astros won and everything was back to normal. THE END…That was a joke. It will take years and decades to rebuild but we will be better, faster, and stronger than ever before.