More than 200 tons of building supplies, will be donated to Rockport, TX residents Friday, September 29.
With all the natural disasters that hit in September, it can be easy to lose track of all the towns victimized.
With a population of just over 10,000, most Americans had never even heard of Rockport, Texas before August 25. That’s when Hurricane Harvey made landfall—the first major hurricane to strike South Texas since 1970. News media reported the category 4 storm with winds of 130mph struck between Port Aransas and Port O'Connor. Right in the middle is Rockport.
Images of the damage in Rockport show “nearly complete destruction.” Walls and roofs of buildings were torn off by the powerful winds. Clean up efforts have been slow moving.
— Michael Lowry (@MichaelRLowry) August 29, 2017
However, volunteer organizations are providing help in an attempt to speed up relief. The “Something CAN Be Done About It” Convoy,” left Salt Lake City on Tuesday headed to Rockport with eight semi-trucks full of supplies. The trucks are carrying lumber, sheetrock, rebar, nails and other materials needed to help the city rebuild.
“The name of the convoy is our statement that no matter how bad a disaster may be, something can be done about it when good people pull together in the name of help,” says Joava Good, a veteran Scientology Volunteer Minister (VM) of more than 40 years.
The building supplies were paid for by a coalition of Utah religious groups and charities including Habitat for Humanity, Adventist Disaster Response, Southern Baptist Convention, the Salvation Army, LDS Charities, the American Red Cross, and the Volunteer Ministers, with the lion’s share coming from Bonneville International, the for-profit broadcasting arm of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Their TV station, KSL and Bonneville radio stations ran a “Hope for Houston” telethon that put together more than a million dollars, and they presented it to Utah VOAD (Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters), for which Ms. Good, who now serves as communications chair of the national organization, is past president. She also arranged for the Scientology Volunteer Ministers to pay for the caravan itself. Carrying more than 200 tons of supplies, this is only the first of a series of shipments that will head to Rockport over the coming weeks.
Good knew firsthand how much the people of Rockport need the help to rebuild. While Houston was still being battered by rain and flooding, the Churches of Scientology Disaster Response director, Susan Taylor, and Ms. Good, her deputy director, arranged with FEMA and VOAD for a team of Volunteer Ministers to deploy to Rockport where the situation was grim. An estimated 80 percent of the homes in the city and the rest of Aransas County were badly damaged. Many of them, completely beyond repair, will have to be rebuilt.
In Rockport with the Volunteer Ministers, Taylor and Good coordinated the work of the team with local authorities and operated out of the Rockport Volunteer Fire Department for the first several weeks. VMs were dispatch to clean up and salvage the homes of local residents, starting with those of firefighters, police and sheriff’s department personnel.
“That is always our top priority when we begin our disaster response” says Good, “take care of the first responders first, because they are working around the clock doing search and rescue and seeing to the needs of others, and have no time to look after their own families and homes.”
— Volunteer Ministers (@ScientologyVM) September 26, 2017
Rockport volunteer firefighter James Elder flew out to Salt Lake City to be there on behalf of the city when KSL TV presented the check for $1,009,523.44, funds collected through the telethon, most of which were donations of $5, $10 or $20 dollars from viewers and listeners from Utah and the four neighboring states the stations serve. “We’ll all help each other rebuild,” says Elder, who has been living at the firehouse because his home was destroyed by the hurricane. “The reason we are one of the greatest nations in the world is because we always take care of each other.”