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Hurricane Harvey Showed Us Hearts are Big in Texas, too

Hurricane Harvey Showed Us Hearts are Big in Texas, too

Just over two weeks ago, Hurricane Harvey hit Texas hard. Over the weekend, our hearts went out to people affected by Hurricane Irma as that storm began battering the Caribbean before moving to Florida. We have witnessed an incredible outpouring of support that we hope continues.

The statement “everything’s bigger in Texas” has never been truer than when speaking of the support following Hurricane Harvey. Texans immediately pulled together to help those affected in Houston, and the support is still pouring in from across Texas, the nation, and around the world. When reading the stories coming out of the disaster, nothing stands out more than the overwhelming sense of hope—all due to the ongoing love and support.

Residents of Rockport, TX proudly fly the flag of Texas, tied to a fallen tree. Photo by Chuck Haupt for the American Red Cross

The city of Austin, Texas, is just one of many offering extensive opportunities to help. The Austin Disaster Relief Network has aided in clean up, meal prep, and much more with the support of volunteers. Austin Pets Alive! is taking in animals coming out of the affected areas and placing them with foster families to relieve kennels that are filling up. Numerous bars and restaurants across Austin, Texas, have stepped up to donate portions of their sales and accept additional donations from customers to help in the relief efforts. From Austin Duck Adventures loaning amphibious vehicles to ferry medical supplies in Houston to Austin co-working companies offering free space to displaced Houston entrepreneurs, the many ways Texans have stepped up to help are as deep and wide and the lone star state itself.

Delco Center Shelter, Austin, Texas. View of the Delco Center Shelter in Austin, Texas. Photo by Chuck Haupt for the American Red Cross

Here at Planview, our employees also came together to support the relief efforts, raising more than $38,000 in donations for the American Red Cross in the days after Hurricane Harvey. Karen Nichols, Planview customer success program manager, volunteered at the American Red Cross main evacuation shelter in Austin, Delco Center. “I worked about 40 hours in three days at the shelter, but what I gave was nothing compared to what I received. Everyone pitched in to help each other.  There were no labels, no expectations, just people working together,” said Karen.VIDEO: Dog lost in Texas storms reunited with owners on National Dog Day

Aaron Jayjack, Planview director of cloud operations, helped four-legged victims as he chased Hurricane Harvey along the Texas coast.. He helped transport animals to safety while chasing Hurricane Harvey, and reunited a dog with its owner in Runge, Texas. When speaking of chasing storms, Aaron said, “I’ve been chasing storms in Texas since the 1990s. Nothing beats helping the most vulnerable among us, like pets who get disoriented and distressed in the storms.” Check out the video of Aaron  and Cash, the lucky dog from Runge, Texas.

If you would like to help in the ongoing relief efforts after Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, here are some of the top organizations accepting online donations:

  1. American Red Cross
  2. Habitat for Humanity
  3. Austin Disaster Relief Network
  4. Hurricane Harvey GoFundMe and YouCaring pages
  5. Charity Navigator has compiled a list of trusted groups for Hurricane Irma relief

For more resources and ways to help, Giving City Austin has compiled a list of tips for the best ways you can help. Currently, monetary donations are most needed, as there has been such an influx of support, many organizations are overwhelmed with material donations. If you are looking to donate material goods or volunteer, check first with the organization to see what is still needed.

Red Cross volunteer Caroline Pinkston colors with children staying at a shelter in Austin, Texas. Photo by Chuck Haupt for the American Red Cross

I recently returned from a weekend trip to Rockport to help clear debris from the many live oak trees in my parent’s yard. Their house, the house I grew up in, still stands, incredibly unscathed. But that is not the case for so many along the Texas coast, stretching from tiny towns many have never heard of all the way to Houston. Homes and landmarks are simply gone. Washed away in the storm. But I can tell you the Texas spirit is alive and well. I witnessed so much activity in my hometown, neighbors helping neighbors clear, strangers serving hot meals to residents, volunteers organizing, sorting and distributing supplies. These communities will come back because they are communities of people, not just buildings.

The recovery has just begun for both storms, so let’s keep that helpful spirit alive. We know there will be many more stories and even more heroes emerging.

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Jane Kovacs
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Jane Kovacs is a geek-loving, button-pushing public relations professional who loves shiny, new ideas. She brings more than 20 years’ experience to her role as global PR manager at Planview. Her background includes communication roles at Pennzoil, EDS, AMD, FleishmanHillard, and 3M. She is passionate about making companies and the technologies they engineer more accessible through shared stories. Jane graduated of The University of Texas at Austin with a master of arts in communication and a bachelor of journalism.