Even before Harvey left the Houston area, Valleyites started working on relief efforts to help out the Corpus Christi, Rockport, Houston and Galveston areas hard hit by Hurricane Harvey.
County agencies, cities, school districts, churches, nonprofits, car dealerships, newspapers, television and radio stations, and a host of other businesses and individuals have jumped into action in the last 10 days and seem determined to keep donating.
Convoys of people towing boats and supplies started leaving South Texas even as the Hurricane was still pouring rain over Houston. Their intention was to join the search and rescue effort to get people to safety. Kayaks, canoes, fishing boats, airboats, and even larger boats were all towed from McAllen, Harlingen, Brownsville and every city in between to Houston.
In just about every city from Roma to Raymondville to Brownsville, people collected water, canned goods, nonperishable foods, diapers, wipes, personal hygiene products, clothes, cleaning supplies, tools and money for relief efforts.
The Red Cross, the Salvation Army and countless other service groups raised funds dedicated to Houston and Corpus Christi relief.
Cities, counties, utility companies and other private businesses donated their trucks, heavy equipment and staff to spend days away from work and home volunteering their time and efforts in rescue and clean up.
Students, teachers, staff and parents at almost every school collected food and other items.
“I am very proud that we have the capability to assist a community in need of our equipment, support and experience in emergency response,” said City of McAllen Mayor Jim Darling. “As our response teams from McAllen and Hidalgo County come together, we demonstrate the strength and compassion found in the Rio Grande Valley, which is a microcosm of the spirit and resiliency of the great state of Texas. May God be with all of the people affected by this horrible natural disaster.”
The City of McAllen deployed approximately 60 employees, including several crews from the McAllen Fire, Parks, Police and Public Works Departments, as well as the McAllen Public Utility and crews from Hidalgo County Precinct 4 and Health & Human Services through the Rio Grande Valley Public Works Response Team to assist with water and sewer system issues, brush collection and continued emergency response support in Aransas Pass, Fulton, Ingleside.
The convoy of trucks and equipment that are assisting with recovery efforts includes pumps, backhoes, brush, dump and fuel trucks and light towers. Additionally, the response team took generators, tents, sleeping bags, cots and food and all that is needed to be self-sustaining while assisting. Parks crews took several hundred shirts to donate to hurricane victims.
The McAllen Public Utility crews will help repair the damaged water and sewer systems for residents and other emergency personnel in the area.
Emergency first responders are still needed in these flood-ravaged areas, to help with the deployment of personnel and equipment and of course, to provide relief and support to local and other emergency crews who have been working overtime since Harvey hit the area.
Hidalgo County Judge Ramon Garcia said the convoy is another example of how emergency management crews from throughout the county come together to get the job done – whether it’s a coordinated response to a local emergency, or in providing assistance to affected areas outside of Hidalgo County.
“Hidalgo County stands united with the people and our partners in the areas affected by this devastating storm,” said County Judge Ramon Garcia, who also serves as the County’s Emergency Management Director. “We continue to respond to the needs of our neighbors to the northeast and stand ready to assist as needed.”