There have been thousands of acts of kindness by best friends and total strangers in the last week. The Tribune wanted to share a few of the stories we’ve heard.
St. Martha’s Church – Tom Gallagher
St. Martha Catholic Church on Woodland Hills Drive in Kingwood ended up as a makeshift shelter for about 100 people Aug. 29, an effort coordinated by Tom Gallagher, the grand knight for the Knights of Columbus.
“We actually were not even supposed to be a shelter, but residents of the local Arbor Terrace retirement community really needed us,” he said. Residents were evacuated to the church after Arbor Terrace began to flood; parishioners came in to provide much-needed medical attention for the elderly residents. The next day, residents were transported to NRG stadium, which had been set up as a medical triage center for evacuees. After that, Gallagher turned his attention to organizing community donations of water, clothing, diapers and towels. When that was done, Gallagher called for a cleaning supply drive and is currently spearheading that effort as well as matching parishioner needs with parishioner volunteers.
Kingwood Strong spirit rises
KHS freshman Braden Hassel’s parents went back and forth about buying him a jon boat for his birthday. Their son loves to fish, but like most parents, they deliberated over the expense, whether he was too young, and whether he would use the boat often enough. Ultimately, they decided to do it and surprised him with the new boat as his gift. On Monday and Tuesday, Hassel rescued about 20 of his neighbors when their Kingwood subdivision, Kings Point The Cove, began flooding. Hassel’s neighbors were very thankful that his parents made the decision to buy him the boat.
Daniel and Cherrie Ledoux
Like many, Daniel and Cherrie Ledoux were surrounded by water at their home. They couldn’t go out Northpark and they couldn’t go out Kingwood Drive, either, so they decided to work close to home. First, they provided food and supplies to the HPD officers at the community center before it was flooded. Next, Cherrie, a professional caterer, provided breakfast, lunch and dinner for Fire Station 102 near the Kroger at Northpark. She defrosted everything in her two refrigerators and caterer freezer and cooked as much as she possibly could – bread, barbecue and pasta. The station had many Kingwood and out-of-town first responders, and Cherrie was the only one cooking for them for days. “Our freezers are now completely empty, but the firemen were extremely grateful for Cherrie’s help, and I am very proud of her,” said husband Daniel. Cooking is definitely in her blood, because on Friday, she helped cook at HAAM at a pop-up tent lunch for around 300 people, then on Saturday and Sunday for about 200 people each day. On Labor Day, the Ledouxs cooked 300 lunches for Fosters Mill residents.
Back Pew Brewing Cleanup Crew
Back Pew Brewing owner Bobby Harl put out a call to Back Pew employees and customers to come help an employee whose home had flooded. Pretty soon, the team of about 15 volunteers realized that the need on Sorters McClellan Road was great. They next helped an elderly couple, then a third-generation Mexican-American family, then an elderly woman who lived by herself and had no help. People in that area could not get out because of flooding at Kingwood Drive near Lone Star College, as well as flooding further down Sorters because of the San Jacinto River. Harl and his family lived at Back Pew for about four days helping people. Amy Lenertz, a volunteer on the Back Pew crew, said, “The flooding in that area was extremely bad. There were boats in trees and roofs completely caved in. We were glad we could do our part to help out.”
Dave Martin/Jessica Beamer
City Councilman Dave Martin, his chief of staff Jessica Beamer, and their entire team have worked tirelessly through this entire disaster, despite flooding in their own homes. They’ve coordinated with HPD, Mayor Sylvester Turner, State Representative Dan Huberty, FEMA and countless others to take care of Kingwood. When asked for a list of neighborhoods most affected by Harvey, Beamer said, “It would be easier for us to make a list of neighborhoods not affected.”
Center Point Energy used Creekwood Middle School as a staging area for their trucks. As of Saturday morning, power had been restored to 157,000 Humble-area homes, despite tremendous issues gaining access to neighborhoods due to debris and parked cars that were obstructing their access. Fallen trees remain the biggest obstacle in Humble, but CenterPoint was able to restore power to critical City of Humble facilities on Friday. They are working 16-hour days to get everything restored. CenterPoint sent crews ahead of the storm in anticipation that Kingwood would be closed off and hard or impossible to reach. Crews were stuck in Kingwood for three days before they could reach their service center. One of the crew members slept in his truck for two days because he was in Kingwood and could not get access to a hotel. Kingwood was the hardest hit area in CenterPoint’s service center area.
Eilertsen woke up Tuesday morning to learn that many of her neighbors in Kings Point The Cove had been evacuated by boat around 3 a.m. due to rising waters. Eilertsen was lucky – her house did not flood – so she began Tuesday morning serving breakfast, lunch and dinner to neighbors: eggs and fruit in the morning, sandwiches and chips for lunch, and crock pot meals for dinner. She even does a mid-afternoon snack run. She has two wagons and loads them up with food and water and goes house to house to deliver food. She wears a pink shirt each time, and work crews now recognize her as “The Pink Lady.” Additionally, she is making dinner for a few families in Kingwood Greens. Kristy said it’s the least she can do.
Andy Lee is now known as the Jet Ski Guy for the Kings Cove Apartments. When a resident had to leave quickly, she left behind clothes and medications in her third-floor apartment. Lee is affiliated with the LDS Church in Eagle Springs, and offered to jet ski back in and get her items, which he did. Thanks, Jet Ski Guy!
Greg Vandercamp, one of the pastors at Kingwood Bible Church, took over for Creekwood Middle School, which was housing 300 evacuees when the school lost power. Kingwood Bible is right across the street, and Vandercamp mobilized very quickly to move the 300 people to his church and get them air mattresses and other items they needed for the night. Church member Diane Boswell said she is very proud of him, but worried about him because he has been working many 12- hour days in a row.
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