By now, most Americans are aware of the devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey. Joining in the nationwide relief efforts, a number of local Texas businesses strapped on their boots and headed towards the Texas coast to help the communities that are currently underwater.
Jeff Skinner of Lone Star Roofing in Van Alstyne drove to the Spring/North Houston area with nearly a dozen employees. In total, seven men from Van Alstyne office and four men from the San Antonio office joined him on the relief mission.
Skinner said the team was in Houston from Monday through Wednesday, working almost non-stop. “We worked till dark, then started back up at daybreak,” he stated, though certain places made it difficult to work around the clock. “Some of the areas had curfew set in place from 10 p.m.-6 a.m.,” he added.
The crew set up camp in the Kroger parking lot in Conroe, approximately 35 miles north of Houston. Skinner said that he and the crew largely devoted their time to rescuing people from their homes.
“We drove the flooded neighborhoods with the boats and got those out that were stranded or wanted to leave,” Skinner said. “We took down five boats and two canoes.”
Even though there was not a way to keep a tally on the amount of people saved, Skinner said he would estimate that the men saved over 50 people. Skinner also stated that they were able to save quite a large number of pets in the process.
Skinner does not think of himself, or his crew, as heroes. “No glory to us, we just wanted to help,” he said. “We saw a need, and on Sunday we decided to make a plan to go help.”
Skinner attributed the owners of Lone Star Roofing for helping to make their relief efforts possible. “The two owners of the company have hearts to help people in need,” he said. “They were part of our group and helped to get it all together.”
Grayson-Collin Electric Cooperative also jumped in to help those in near near the Texas coast. The GCEC Chairman, David McGinnis, said they took a number of crews down to assist the Victoria Electric Cooperative. When his crew headed towards the coast last Sunday, McGinnis said over 22,000 businesses and residents were without power. As of Monday morning, McGinnis reported almost 90 percent of the power was restored.
“That leaves around 2,000 meters without power,” McGinnis clarified.
Even though McGinnis came back on Sunday Sept. 3, he said he still has 11 men in Victoria as of Monday. “The remaining guys are going to be able to come home tomorrow,” stated McGinnis. After Harvey hit the coast and went back out to the Gulf — leaving thousands of people without power — McGinnis said the combined efforts helped restore the power.
At one point after the storm, over 250 linemen were working on the powerlines according to McGinnis, but luckily nationwide assistance is aiding in the rescue and relief process.