Hurricane Harvey

Never Forget – September 11th – Patriot Day

Houston was hit almost 2 weeks ago by Hurricane Harvey. We spent 5 days watching it rain and rain and rain. Our family was blessed to not have any water damage, lose electricity, or even internet. After that we hit the ground running. Helping where we could… mucking out homes, cleaning out our church (5 ft of water), feeding volunteers, and coordinating efforts all around.

It has been such a whirlwind of working together in our communities and I think all Houstonians would agree that, No one in Houston knows what day it is! We blew through Labor Day with most of us laboring in some way helping our neighbors.

This weekend, many in Houston will still recovering from Harvey while people in Florida are fighting the wrath of another hurricane (Irma), but I ask you to look at the calendar and see what the date is on Monday.

This Monday is September 11th and has been designated as “Patriot Day” to remember those who perished in the 9/11 attacks.

I remember that day, 16 years ago, when we only had one 3 yr old child. We had the TV on at work and we watched the 2nd plane go into the South Tower and could not believe what we were seeing. After it was all over, it took us a while to adjust to the world after 9/11.

Over the past couple of years I have come to realize that we lived through something in the history books that our kids are studying. This was a tragedy and a unifying force of patriotism. It brought the country together, unified us in a beautiful way and helped remind us to take pride in American.

Take some time this week to remember those lost in the attacks and to share what you remember about that day. Our kids, our co-workers, and some of our friends may not remember this tradegy. The folks that have just graduated from college were around 5-6 years old and this year’s high school seniors were only 1 when the 9/11 attacks happened.

History is what we teach, but sharing your experiences and feelings make the events real. The heroism of the hundreds of first responders and the average citizens showed us what it is to be truly American.

Never Forget – September 11th – Patriot Day

“Our flag was still there” – Hurricane Harvey Update

Hurricane Harvey hit land more than a week ago. Our family rode out the storm high and dry, but some close friends in our area were some of the worst hit. Our Church Home of St. Ignatius had more than 5 feet of water in some areas and all the buildings had water. More than that, friends of ours still have water in their house. Multiple feet of water keep coming into their house from the draining process of reservoirs and lakes.

You don’t have to look far to see the devastation that Houston and other Gulf Coast towns in Texas. But if you look past the devastation, you see the spirit. They are saying #HoustonStrong and yes we are… but more than that, we are #PeopleStrong.

People were taking on water in their homes, and people came to the rescue. People are devastated and have lost everything and people have come to their aid. You notice I don’t say, Texans, Houstonians, Whites, Blacks, First Responders, or the Military… I SAY PEOPLE! We are all human, and what I witnessed here in my town was people helping people. We have folks rescued by the Coast Guard, the Cajun Navy, and by some fella that just hauled his boat from Tennessee to help (1000 miles away).

I have driven through neighborhoods that “never flooded before” and were overwhelmed with water. The streets lined with cars of friends and volunteers, pulling people’s lives out and dumping it on the front lawns. I have seen people multiply food being cooked into 600+ meals for families, volunteers, and others in the community. I have seen Syrian immigrant families show up to help in whatever way is needed.

Our national anthem talks about a battle that was fought through the night…

Our community went through that battle and through that night and like the song says “our flag was still there!” We as a nation and a people are working together, arm in arm, hand in hand, to help each other.

"Our flag flying high. Thank you!" - subscriber (9/2/2017)

"Our flag flying high. Thank you!" - subscriber (9/2/2017)

Our family has been involved with everything from food delivery, volunteer coordination, house muck out, sheet rock demolition, and the list continues. Some of our friends are starting to see some light, but this tunnel is long.

This weekend Honor with Flags worked with our youth organizations and put out flags around our community. The response was beautiful, people wanted to see the stars and stripes flying in the wind. Today is Labor Day, a holiday to celebrate the labor force in our country. I have seen our Labor Force! They come from all walks of life, temporary workers, IT workers, executives, doctors, and students, all laboring for their fellow human. There will not be much rest this Labor Day on the Texas Gulf Coast, but we should all celebrate the perseverance, the determination, the effort that all have and will put in for the recovery effort.

I leave you with this… If you live in our area of the country, you are most likely already helping in some way. If you live outside of our area and want to give a hand, the best way is to share some of your resources. I have experienced that just a $2 bag of ice is like gold to a crew that has worked all day in a hot, wet house. You can donate to small groups or large groups, national or local, a lot or a little, it will make a difference. Below are just a few examples that could use your help, but there are MANY, MANY more!

  • Our Boy Scout Troop 1324 is collecting a little bit of money to pay for briskets to serve to those in need. (Previous Link Removed)

  • The Archdiocese of Houston Galveston has 5 parishes that were damaged including our own St. Ignatius, as well as some schools. (Previous Link Removed)

  • Our own Houston Texan star, J.J. Watt, started talking about helping others early in this effort and set a goal of $200,000 to raise to go to help others through his foundation. As of now the fund is almost to $20M! (Previous Link Removed)

  • Catholic Charities and the American Red Cross have been here every step of the way helping people.

Peace to you and your families and please continue praying for all the people affected by Hurricane Harvey!

PS – A wonderful story about this was just posted by Steve Hartman of CBS News, I hope they don’t mind me linking it here.