On August 26, Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Rockport, Texas with winds of 130 miles per hour. The storm moved over Copano Bay and made a second landfall north of Holiday Beach. Two high pressure systems stalled the hurricane over southeast Texas, dumping more than 50 inches of rain in the Houston area. Homes and businesses flooded with thousands needing rescue as the waters rose. More than 1500 miles away, Milford area residents began to come together to provide relief to those affected by the massive flooding in Houston.
“On Friday, September 1, we had a truck stationed at Houston Volunteer Fire Company,” Mike Edwards a board member with the company, said. “We worked with Joshua Tree, the church in Gumboro who is coordinating relief efforts. We are collected anything that can be used by those affected by Harvey, including food, water, even pet supplies. The truck left for Houston on Saturday morning.”
Delaware National Guard is also assisting with the relief efforts, sending personnel and officers to help with the evacuations and rescues. The Guard is working with the Emergency Management Assistance Compact in coordination with the Delaware Emergency Management Agency and the National Guard Bureau.
“The national guard is unique in that we have the dual mission of conducting overseas warfare and supporting our homeland,” Major General Carol Timmons, Adjutant General, said. “Our troops have extensive experience in both missions.” A C-130H model aircraft left for Houston earlier this week and the Guard is prepared to provide up to four more if necessary. The 142nd Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron which consists of flight nurses and medical technicians is also on standby.
In Milford, several business owners and community volunteers have created the Greater Milford Crisis Collection. Angela Dorey, Mike Moyer and John Bechtold are in the process of coordinating with the Hampton Inn to collect items to take to Houston as well. Mr. Bechtold says that the organization plans to create a donation location at next Saturday’s Riverwalk Freedom Festival where attendees can bring food, pet supplies and other items needed to sustain those affected by Hurricane Harvey.
“The Riverwalk Festival is the pride and joy of Milford,” Mr. Bechtold said. “We have a drop off location a Wall’s Service Center, Dorey Insurance and the Hampton Inn that will accept donations all week and on the day of the festival. Big Lots and Walgreens are providing us with boxes and totes to store the items.” Mr. Bechtold said they want to collect things that those flooded by the hurricane will need but that most of us take for granted. One of the big items needed is bug repellant as the standing water will cause an infestation of mosquitoes.
At the festival, the organization is looking for volunteers to help man the booth and to help pack, load trucks and sort items that are donated. Mr. Bechtold said that Ruth Rogers, wife of former Mayor Ronnie Rogers has agreed to work at the booth and he is hoping that he can enlicit the help of the Mayor and City Council members to be at the booth as well.
“We want to carry this even farther than the festival,” Mr. Bechtold said. “We will continue collecting items because those people will need assistance for a very long time. Once we get a load ready, we will load a UHaul or other rental truck to drive to the Houston area. We would love to have the truck donated, but we want to keep this momentum going for as long as we can.”
Ryan Knowles of Carlisle Fire Company said that he is a member of the Terry Farrell Firefighters Fund. The organization is named for an FDNY firefighter who was killed on 9/11. Rescue 4, the unit Terry Farrell belonged to when he died, has sent members down to assist with search and recovery.
“A good friend of mine in that company is also in contact with me of what is happening and what is needed,” Mr. Knowles said. “We have gear and equipment heading down to Houston to assist firefighters who have lost necessary supplies during this tragedy. We actually have a member in this state who is directly affected by this and we are in contact with him about his needs. We may also be acquiring apparatus from a New Castle company to send down as donated equipment.
Avenue United Methodist Church has also stepped up to provide assistance to those who are suffering after Hurricane Harvey’s destruction.
“First, we ask everyone to pray for those who are affected as this could devastate them for years into the future,” Reverend Tom Pasmore said. “If you can give financially, we are taking up a special offering every Sunday during the month of September. All funds raised will be sent to the United Methodist Council on Relief (UMCOR) and 100 percent of the funds raised go directly to their efforts in Texas. The church is creating cleaning buckets as well. We are asking you to donate cleaning supplies to create buckets that will include masks, gloves and other items used specifically for cleaning up after the flood waters recede. We have completed ten buckets and want to send at least 100 to the region in the next two weeks.”
Anyone who is interested volunteering for the Greater Milford Crisis Organization can do so by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or visit their Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/GreaterMilfordCrisisCollection/). On the Facebook page, there is a list of items that are needed by the people affected by the flooding as well. Anyone who wishes to donate or assist Avenue UMC should call 302-422-8111 or visit their website at https://avenueumc.com/.