The aftermath of Hurricane Harvey has left thousands struggling to rebuild. Compass Captain Andrew Bennett was part of a team of volunteers who visited some of the hardest hit areas after the storm, with a goal of helping local residents take the first steps towards rebuilding their lives.
Andrew and his team of volunteers focused their efforts on the towns of Aransas Pass and Rockport, both of which sustained heavy damage during Harvey. Over a weekend, Andrew and his 18-person team logged a total of 288 man hours, along side an army of others including the Red Cross, utility workers, local charities, and religious organizations.
Their work included transporting donated relief supplies, including food and water, to the people who needed them the most, along with removing debris so electric and water companies could re-establish desperately needed utilities. The group also constructed a geodesic dome, which was used for supply storage. The dome kept the much needed supplies out of the Texas sun, while also giving volunteers and others a reprieve from the heat and mosquitos.
Andrew found that working directly with disaster victims posed a unique challenge. “Some are willing to take you up on your assistance, but others are in denial or shock after living through a disaster. They’re not willing to accept help that requires removing their home or belongings if they haven’t fully accepted what has happened to them yet. You don’t want to alienate someone by approaching them the wrong way, so you have to learn how to properly communicate with people.”
While he has returned to the flight line, Andrew is already making tentative plans to return to the disaster area in the near future. He hopes to help electricians and contractors to rebuild and repair homes and other structures that were damaged during the storm.
If you would like to get involved in relief efforts, other organizations doing important work to help Harvey victims include the food banks of Corpus Christi and Houston, the Texas Workers Relief Fund, and the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund.