I saw the above quote on Facebook. This post is not about a mega church pastor and whether he is or is not doing something. It's not about whether our president or government is or is not doing something. It's about what I have been witnessing this week in the Texas Gulf Coast as regular people are most definitely doing something.
I live in a master planned community about 30 miles north of Houston, Texas. A couple of weeks ago, I heard that there was a tropical storm named Harvey stirring up and that my area of Texas was very likely going to receive a lot of rain. Then I heard that Harvey was a hurricane that was going to hit around a town called Rockport or Corpus Christi. I started praying for those folks as they were being told to evacuate.
Let me tell you, I have lived here for a long time. My house was very badly damaged during Hurricane Ike. I "hunkered down" that night and listened as tree branches flew through the air and I woke up the next day to see floods and trees inside people's houses. We didn't evacuate then because the mayor asked us to stay. This was because in 2005, we were part of the mass evacuation during Rita when more than 100 people lost their lives trying to flee.
I know what it's like to live through a hurricane. So, I prayed for Rockport and Corpus. I prayed they would safely make it out in time. And, you know what? They did. That's because Houston's mayor told us to stay put. By staying in our homes, we made room on the highways for those who needed to evacuate to go. And we kept the Rita evacuation ordeal from happening again.
You know what? No one, and I mean NO ONE could have predicted what Hurricane Harvey was going to do to the entire Texas Gulf Coast area. No one could have known the horror of what we were about to endure and are still enduring. Harvey became a category four hurricane and beat up the small town of Rockport. Then, Harvey decided not to leave. The next few days felt like years. In just four days, the city of Houston had more rain than it's annual average! And we have talked a lot about Houston on the news, but all the towns near Houston have suffered through this storm too.
My friends and family members were on their rooftops waiting to be rescued by boat. Countless friends and people around me have lost everything they own. Everything! Nothing could prevent this. Even if the almost 12 million people in Harvey's destructive path had evacuated, the homes and businesses would have still been destroyed. Lives were saved by the decision to stay put. As I type this, the floods continue. Beaumont is a lake! And their water supply was cut off.
Ok, here goes... Texas gets stereotyped a lot, y'all. I remember watching "Beverly Hills 90210" in the '90s and they were showing a scene in San Antonio in which everyone was walking around in cowboy boots and ten gallon hats and they were a bunch of racists who didn't like a white boy kissing a black girl. Seriously? That ain't Texas! And, side note, San Antonio is mostly Hispanic. You don't typically see white, racist cowboys walking around there. Or here either because all the real cowboys I know are wonderful gentlemen who love God and people. That's just the truth.
Anyway, Houston is extremely diverse. We have every race here. Every religion. Every language is spoken here (I mean, every language on Earth). We have republicans. We have democrats. We have loads of gay people. And we have loads of straight people. We have art and music and seriously great food. We have every culture the world has produced. It's a really cool city.
Anyway, this storm didn't just happen to Houston. It happened to Texas. And because we're part of the USA, it happened to America and I want to thank my friends and family from all over the world for reaching out to check on me this week.
Here's some of the stuff I have seen:
- My friends who own boats haven't slept in days because they have been rescuing people.
- Donations of food, blankets, medicine, diapers, etc. pouring in from all over the country!
- Loads of money being donated.
- People around my little town buying gift cards to grocery stores and Target for flood victims.
- Friends doing demos all over town (I'm covered in sheetrock as I type this).
Here's the deal... I think people like JJ Watt and Mattress Mack are amazing! They have stepped up and raised money and helped people. Sandra Bullock and other famous and wealthy celebrities have made financial contributions. My own Dallas Cowboys are raising funds for flood victims and hosting a telethon in place of the game that was supposed to happen tonight (none of us feels like watching football right now). I love seeing the rich and famous step up. They have a voice that many can hear.
But, for me, the greatest heroes have been the ones on the ground who don't get an ounce of recognition. My friends Frank and Angie Rizzo and their son Luke have worked 'round the clock doing demos. In fact, I have loads of friends out doing that. And it's hard work! I have friends like Deanna and Matt Katri who show up with pizza and waters and snacks for all the workers. Today I saw tow trucks driving through neighborhoods handing out bottled water! I have friends working in shelters. I have friends doing laundry for flood victims. I have friends rescuing animals and feeding them. I have friends taking care of the elderly and cancer patients. People have come in from other states to help us. No one is worried about race, religion or politics when we are helping each other.
Thank you, Texas, for taking a beating and standing strong. I'm proud of this mighty state.
|My son, Dylan and his friends were heading to hang out at a friend's house|
when I called and said we needed help in one of the neighborhoods doing a demo.
Instead of going to have fun, these boys dropped everything to work.
|A few of my friends and me doing demos.|
|Love these ladies! Working hard.|
|This neighborhood was completely under water. These folks in Conroe|
have lost every single thing they own.