Update from Refugio | Day 16

It’s been sixteen days since Hurricane Harvey made landfall on the Texas Coast. In the small community of Refugio, signs of normality are beginning to surface. Power has been restored for most of the city, businesses are beginning to re-open, and the high school football team has been holding practices—even though the school itself suffered damage and has not resumed classes.

Gary Anderson & Matt Payne of Minuteman Disaster Response

Minuteman has been on the scene since day one to aid in the recovery process. We have had the opportunity to serve hundreds of residents, the city, and even Refugio County. First responders have come from departments all across the state of Texas. (The other day, we even spotted a truck from the Virginia Forestry Service.) These out-of-town responders have been staying at the community center, which lacks shower facilities. However, because of the generosity of the SRS Raise the Roof Foundation (who provided our shower trailer), they’ve been able to grab a hot shower each night.

While local first responders have been out helping others, we’ve worked to clean up debris from their yards so they have one less thing to worry about when they return home. We’ve also been clearing fallen trees for the elderly, who are unable to do so themselves. A drive through town shows piles of branches as high as vehicles on nearly every street.

Team of Volunteers from Dallas

Local officials have expressed their gratitude for our presence in the community, especially for how long we have remained on site. “We’re committed to helping this community recover,” said Matt Payne, executive director of Minuteman. “There are other places that have need but we are looking to concentrate our efforts here and make a big impact.”

In a video interview with our journalist, Refugio County Justice of the Peace Emi Riemenschneider thanks the Minuteman team, donors, and volunteers who have come to lend a hand. Several of our relief team members have been coming down over the past few weeks, and we recently had a group of thirty volunteers with us from Prestonwood Baptist Church and Engage Hope Ministries in Dallas. They helped remove debris from yards, clean up a city park, and remove a partially collapsed wall from a Presbyterian church that was hit hard. While all of this has been taking place, our team continues to go from house to house assessing damage and identifying needs we can meet. After two weeks of this, there is still much work to be done.

If you would like to support our ongoing relief efforts in Refugio, please consider partnering with us financially. Click the button below to donate securely.


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