A bit of a personal post today as I’ve seen things that have made me so incredibly proud of my city and my state over the last 5 days.
I’m coming to you not from the heart of Houston, but from the northwest part of the city. The neighborhood in which I live just happens to be one of the highest elevated spots in the Houston area.
So, no, there was no water in my home, no flooding in my streets, and the bayou just a block away managed to stay within its banks, thank God.
But let’s go back to that heart. Let me tell you about the heart of Houston . . .
Even before the Houston Police Department and other officials requested civilian assistance, my neighbors with lifted trucks and boats began heading out to rescue their fellow Houstonians.
Did they have a checklist asking who the flood victims voted for? No.
Did they ask the color of the victims’ skin? Nope.
Did they inquire about the religion of said victims? Nu uh.
They heard the call of fellow human beings in need and distress and danger. And they responded.
They responded with so much heart and selflessness. I am tearing up again just thinking about it.
And they are still out there. Answering calls for help and responding with assistance.
My neighborhood organized their own relief response team, coordinating rescues through HPD, collecting donations, and setting up temporary shelters. All of this without being asked. It is amazing to see everyone pull together.
And it’s not just my neighborhood showing the strength and tenacity of Houston, and Texas by extension, has. The amazing rescue accounts on TV and bravery shown by those that made it out of their homes safely is truly inspiring.
A storm victim at one of the shelters was interviewed by a reporter who thought the five children she was sitting with and comforting were hers. They were not. She was cuddling the youngest and talking to the older children as if they were her own. All this so that the actual mother of these kids could tend to her own elderly mother who was bedridden.
An officer of 34 years for HPD drowned in his car on the way to help out early Sunday morning. His wife and father-in-law told him he didn’t need to go, but he went anyway because, as he said, “I have work to do.” The police chief tearfully confirmed his death earlier today and recounted his conversation with the officer’s wife. He asked her if her husband would rather have died quietly in his bed or out doing what he loved. She wholeheartedly said, “Doing what he loved.”
The police chief also choked up when he shared that many officers had been working 37 hours straight having had nothing to eat but a protein bar. And apparently there are folks on social media upset that officers are being fed. I’ve not been keeping up on all that, but really?
Sadly, it sometimes takes extreme circumstances to remind us that we are not that different at all. Yes, we have different beliefs and origins and cultures. That’s what makes us great. But we are all humans and inherently the same.
I am so proud of the humans around me right now. My heart is so full at this moment. I hope this disaster can help bring folks together on a greater level.
I saw one tweet today from a man whose young daughter said to him, “Daddy, maybe God brings the hurricanes to show people how to work together.” Kids are smart.