Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Rockport, Texas, on August 25, 2017. Destruction of property in the town came swiftly, with category 4 strength winds (130-156 mph) and a four to six foot storm surge. Today 75% of businesses there are still closed, over 11,000 people need assistance with daily necessities and almost 8,000 need housing assistance.
Kristy Hunton, a Gross Tech at CellNetix, grew up in Rockport and her entire family still lives there. When the storm passed the damage done was personal. Kristy’s sister’s home was completely destroyed along with all of her family’s belongings, and her parents’ home had sustained significant damage as well.
In late October Kristy traveled to Rockport, joined by her colleague Jobe Messer, a Lab Assistant at CellNetix. “Rolling into my hometown was very difficult, you couldn’t look past the damage, it was everywhere” said Kristy. The catastrophic damage ranged from unrecognizable storefronts to homes lifted off of their foundations. Jobe said, “We knew it was going to be bad but it was hard to prepare yourself for what you saw”.
Kristy and Jobe’s time was primarily spent volunteering for the Rockport Relief Camp. Samantha McCrary, a Rockport native donated her land and space for people to sleep, take a hot shower and for others to drop off donations. Through the hot and humid Texas days Kristy and Jobe worked to organize the items being donated. This was often done with haste as it was necessary to get the items out of the open air as to prevent them from getting wet and muddy which can lead to the goods rotting.
While the times are certainly trying in Rockport right now, the efforts to come together as a community were not lost on Jobe. “It made me feel good about humanity, people who lost their own property were taking time out of their own recovery efforts to help out others” he said, adding, “I wanted to come to Rockport to help others, being able to help out gave me a sense of purpose”.
It’s now December 6th and the efforts are still ongoing, Rockport is still digging out and will be for some time. It was difficult for Kristy to come back to Seattle knowing that the job wasn’t done. Kristy intends to head back to Rockport in mid-December to continue to help her family repair their properties.
If you would like to learn more about the Rockport Relief Camp and how you can donate please visit their Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/rockportreliefcamp/.