Looking Back on 2017 and Hurricane Harvey
I think we can all agree that 2017 was a year of ups and downs for almost every Houstonian. As we remember the anniversary of Hurricane Harvey and the destruction that it brought on our great city and surrounding areas, let us not forget that perhaps also a time where we saw the best humanity and our communities has to offer. Not only did the devastation of Harvey bring together Houston, it brought together the nation. In particular, we owe a great deal of gratitude to our brothers and sisters from the now famous Louisiana Cajun Navy who drove their convoys into Houston and personally rescued hundreds of stranded residents throughout Houston. Of course other names, groups, organizations, and notable individuals come to mind as well for their amazing support and charity; Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale who opened his stores and his heart to victims and first responders, Houston Texan JJ Watt who raised over $37 million in donations, the Houston Astro‘s who donated $4 million, a $1 million donation by the Texas Rangers, and Houston Rockets owner Leslie Alexander‘s personal donation of $4 million just to name a few (locally).
But beyond the local celebrities, it was our own community who came out and stepped up in unbelievable ways to help those around them. Countless stories have been retold about daring rescues, individuals opening their homes to strangers, donation centers being so filled with charitable donations that they were turning items away. The outpouring of love, compassion, and support to and from our local community is almost unfathomable.
In particular, Showcase Kingwood wants to thank some local Kingwood residents and their friends; who have become ours as well! Kingwood residents and business owners Bryanna and Corey Cox bought their dream home in Kingwood Lakes in May of 2017, a few short months before Harvey hit. As the rains began, they slowly and helplessly watched as the water rose from the lake outside their home on the Kingwood Country Club golf course. As the San Jacinto River continued to rise the golf course became submerged and consequently the lake outside their home rose with it. A staggering 8 feet of water entered their garden style home, taking everything they owned from household possessions to collectible cars. But the water didn’t stop there, it continued up Kingwood Drive and throughout the community destroying everything in its muddy wake. They were forced, like many Kingwood residents, to abandon their home. Luckily, their business, Asset Resolutions, survived and they were able to get their minds off the devastation while donating their time helping tow stranded cars.
Despite their tremendous loss, the Cox family persisted, not only for themselves but for the community. Long time friends Deon Nikolich and Stewart Meadows of Phoenix, Arizona saw the devastation and reached out to their own community for support. Utilizing the reach of their own small businesses, DeJaVu Auto Works and Chi Town Dogz respectivly, Nikolich and Meadows began to gather donations. Their intention was to bring a truck load of supplies from Arizona to Texas and help their friends in any way they could. Little did they know the adventure they were about to embark upon! The men were overwhelmed with the community support in Phoenix; what was intended to be a few cases of water and some basic supplies ended up with a twenty-four (24) foot car trailer loaded to the brim. So much so that the men endured tire blow out after tire blow out along the way, but they pressed on. In El Paso, Tx they were spotted by a local news crew who featured their efforts on the news!
Upon arriving to Kingwood the men met up with Ally Mansfield of Showcase Kingwood along with the Cox Family for a coordinated effort to support the community. With a small army of volunteers the group unloaded the weathered trailer and set up a temporary donation center at the old HEB parking lot on West Lake Houston Parkway and Kingwood Drive. Handing out everything from diapers to deodorant, cookies to clothing, and detergent to disposable dishware the group and their volunteers handed out supplies with a smile. Despite losing their home the Cox Family was there giving what was originally intended for them to their neighbors, and after all of their detours, sleep deprivation, and breakdowns Nikolich and Meadows stood shoulder to shoulder with Kingwood residents distributing supplies, smiles, and the occasional hug.
There are so many heroes that have gone unnamed both during and post Harvey. But despite their lack of national or even local recognition, their efforts will never be discounted or forgotten by the thousands they helped. So as the one year anniversary of Hurricane Harvey comes to a close let us not forget the comradery, love, and support of our neighbors, friends, and strangers that we saw in the wake of this terrible storm. But more importantly, let us continue to help each other heal, give back to those in need, and show pride and support in our communities both locally and nationwide.
Thank you Kingwood for showing us what you are made of and for letting us be a part of this great community!
Ally Mansfield, Director Showcase Kingwood
September 3, 2018