While the worse part of Hurricane Harvey may now be in the past, and the sun is starting to poke out between the clouds, the reality is the recovery and rebuilding effort is just beginning.
Americans and the rest of the world saw through social media, their own eyes, or news on television the mayhem that Hurricane Harvey brought to Texas. The cameras, media and cries for help are not deceiving you. The damage is widespread, and it is nothing short of disaterous.
The National Weather Service alarmingly warned on Sunday that Harvey would be “unprecedented” and “beyond anything ever experienced.”
As fate should turn out, the National Weather Service was quite precise. Hurricane Harvey destroyed nearly all storm records and ended up being the wettest storm in the history of the continental United States. To put this in perspective, Hurricane Katrina brought 15 inches of rain to Louisiana, at its highest point; Hurricane Harvey brought 50inches of rain to Texas.
An area roughly the length of the New York City-Boston corridor has been besieged by biblical-level flooding. Coastal Texas towns have been largely destroyed. Thousands of people have been displaced — have had to be rescued from their very homes via boat or helicopter. (Related: WATCH: Emotional moment when man who lost everything to Harvey learns father is alive)
Many may not realize this but Houston is the fourth largest city in the United States, which sits in perhaps the single most diverse county in the nation (Harris), has had large swaths of its inner core, suburbs, and exurbs alike horrifyingly transmogrified into something out of an apocalyptic horror film.
Citizens throughout Texas, as one would imagine, have evinced their trademark resilience and valor. The stories of Texan civilians rising to the occasion to become heroes of the day are tremendously inspiring and are ubiquitous. Truly, we are the best of America.
Yet almost all of us living here, even if we were not personally affected, know those who were. We may have a friend or coworker who only escaped from the roof of his own home via the good grace of a volunteer boatman from our impromptu Dunkirk-esque civilian navy. We may have a family member whose precious belongings perished — or whose car or truck simply washed away, never again to return. Perhaps we even know a valiant member of Houston’s finest who tragically lost his life in the service of others in need.
I have seen a father holding a child as they both weep. I have seen a man risking his life to carry his dog through the water to safety, a child asking his mother about his lost toys, and a man weeping tears of joy as he finds out his father is alive. My neighbor ventured out to rescue people yesterday. He barely made it back. The truck did not. As you read this, countless families have lost everything and don’t know what tomorrow may bring. Shelters are at their capacity and the worst flooding is still to come.
Jesse Kelly, along with so may of our fellow Americans, has been nothing short of fearless throughout these trying times.
In times like these it is important we American’s band together, drop partisan bickering, and lift each other up as we did with 9/11, and Hurricane Katrina.
Take a bit of advice from this American patriot. Help.
'GOING TO SAVE SOME LIVES'
— Austin Kellerman (@AustinKellerman) August 27, 2017
There are a lot of stories of heroism coming out of Texas as the recovery efforts begin.
— HCSOTexas (@HCSOTexas) August 27, 2017
But not every American can actually be physically in south/southeast Texas to help rebuild. And rebuild, of course, we will: The unbreakable spirit of the people of this state knows no bounds. But Texas could also use any help you might be able to generously provide. (Related: Watch: Weather Channel Anchor Drops Everything to Make a Very American Rescue)
To that end, here is a short, non-exhaustive list of charities to which you might consider donating to in order to help the Hurricane Harvey recovery effort:
- American Red Cross
- Houston Flood Relief Fund (organized by Houston Texans Pro Bowl defensive end J.J. Watt)
- Greater Houston Community Foundation
- Jewish Federation of Greater Houston
- Orthodox Union
- North American Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention
- The Salvation Army
- Samaritan’s Purse
These are all reputable charity organizations; every dollar given to them will make a difference in an American’s life. Truly.
Please continue to keep Texans, recovery workers, and anyone involved in your thoughts and prayers. Texans are hurt, but hardly broken. And in many ways, the unified spirit of the people of Texas and America, as demonstrated this past week amidst the backdrop of an a rising frayed social fabric, is truly helping to make America (and Texas) great again. (Related: President Trump surveys Harvey damage, waves Texas flag, calls for recovery ‘better than ever before’)