#HoustonStrong: Rebuilding After Hurricane Harvey
September 7, 2017
Barry Mattson, Central Region Executive Director
It has been heartening to see our Mission Continues family rally together to help us in Houston during Hurricane Harvey. As we have worked with Houston communities for years, it is saddening to see the damage done. While our platoon members and staff are focused locally with neighbor-helping-neighbor efforts as well as working with their operational partners right now, we are planning our long-term recovery efforts too.
I know there are no quick fixes for all that Houston has endured. We weathered this storm and we are committed to rebuilding our communities. We are adjusting the objectives of all five of our Houston operations to include long-term, ongoing recovery operations. This is what Mission Continues is all about — we’re in it for the long haul.
To help us with this commitment, many generous Houstonians and friends from across the country have stepped up as we’re getting closer to reaching our Hurricane Harvey response fundraising goal to help our veterans continue to report for duty in our Houston communities.
I have witnessed fellowship alumni taking it upon themselves to muster resources and provide donation drops to shelters and churches around Harris County. For example, our Houston 4th Platoon leader and fellow alum, Amariee Collins has been collecting donations and making drop offs over the past week, is continuously checking in on other Mission Continues fellows and alumni in Houston, and has been volunteering in home cleanups.
Over the years, our platoons have focused on revitalizing and empowering underserved neighborhoods in Houston, and to that end, we’re going forward with our 9/9 United In Service Event at KIPP North to help them recover and provide a bright spot to the kids in that community.
KIPP founder Mike Feinberg will be our keynote speaker, and we look forward to having a large turnout from our friends at LSVA, Travis Manion Foundation, Wounded Warrior Project, and our other partner organizations at Combined Arms.
Thanks to Team Houston for the long hours, continuing to work through weekends, and everyone for all their support nationwide. We’ll need the support in the coming months and years to rebuild.
Our prayers certainly go out to our friends in Miami and the east coast as they prepare for Hurricane Irma.
Here are updates from our five service platoons on what they have done so far:
Houston 1st Platoon, Kashmere Gardens
- Together we led neighborhood water rescues and a donation drive. We ended up gathering four truckloads of donations for one of the hardest hit communities
- We are meeting with our partners at ProUnitas today to coordinate our efforts with them to provide healing for this community
Houston 2nd Platoon, Independence Heights
- Helping three local churches be prepared to take in donations, and took in a total of four truckloads of donations for VFW and local churches
- Made over 1,000 sandwiches at local restaurant and distributed to those in need
Houston 3rd Platoon, KIPP North
- Unfortunately, the Houston 3rd Platoon Leader, LaShonda Johnson’s house was flooded and she was evacuated by boat with her children. We found out that her neighborhood will be demolished. She also lost her car. She found a place to stay, and is in the process of recovering what she can and moving.
- Nonetheless, she is still stepping up to lead our 9/9 United in Service project. The project is at KIPP North campus, which was damaged by Harvey. We are moving forward with the project this Saturday as planned, with a focus on flood recovery. Looking forward to all five platoons attending!
Houston 4th Platoon, Sunnyside
- We’re busy dropping off donations at churches and the George R. Brown Convention Center, and we are sending donations to Third Ward and Meyerland to help distribute supplies
- There are a lot of trees are down in the area. We are helping to identify which can be cleared by the city
- We are helping organize volunteers from a Dallas law firm, who is bringing charter buses for those who want to volunteer and those wanting to go to Dallas
Houston 5th Platoon, Greater East End
- Two neighborhoods in our area were severely flooded. We are working with a shelter that needs our help managing the 450 people staying there.
- The platoon is working with Community Family Centers to identify homeowners to begin mucking and clearing
To stay updated on upcoming support and recovery opportunities, sign up for one of our service platoons. Platoons are open to veterans and non-veterans of all ability levels – come ready and motivated to work hard!
Report for duty in your community with The Mission Continues. Serve with a Service Platoon at an upcoming service event near you or apply for a fellowship. You can learn more about our programs on our website and stay updated on the latest news and announcements on Facebook and Twitter.