Mobilizing to serve in the wake of Winter Storm Uri

Feb 25, 2021

As Texas begins the long recovery from the events of Winter Storm Uri over President’s Day weekend, our Houston-based team member Elizabeth Barlow shared an update on what has been going on over the past week.

“There’s no sugar-coating it. The last week has been a nightmare. The worst winter storm to hit Texas in a generation descended on Houston with freezing temperatures, leaving many families without water and power. My family and I are counting our blessings that we only had a pipe burst, and were not without electricity for long. Our natural gas held, and I was able to offer my home up to others. I spent time checking in on fellow team members and volunteers as much as spotty cell service would allow.

My fellow Texas TMC teammates certainly had it far worse. Many were without water and electricity for days, entire families were displaced or sheltered in one room, just to keep warm. One Platoon Leader stayed at his office throughout the storm and was only recently able to return to his home. Across the state, our volunteers and community partners have been severely impacted by the storm and its aftermath.

However, as I have witnessed in the last year, our veteran leaders don’t hesitate to serve others during a time of crisis. Our Platoon Leader in Austin opened up his organization, Vetted Kitchens, to make meals for volunteers and families in need. Platoon members fed at least 100 families and distributed water to 400 families so far with plans for another distribution this week.

In Houston, platoon members helped with food and water distribution to more than 600 families and 30 homebound seniors at Heavenly Choices restaurant in the Kashmere Gardens and Independence Heights communities. This week, volunteers will be at Target Hunger packing and delivering meals as well as mucking and gutting a church in the Third Ward community that was severely damaged by the storm.

In Arlington, our Platoon Leader, Angel Carter, worked with the Travis Manion Foundation to secure the delivery of three pallets of water to Mission Arlington for distribution in the community. Angel and the Dallas Fort Worth Platoon are also distributing hot meals in partnership with Destiny Pointe Christian Center.

Platoons in San Antonio, Killeen, and El Paso are working to plan service events to respond to their communities’ needs as we plan for the recovery effort. Across the state, communities where our platoons operate are disproportionately hit by both the pandemic and the impact of this storm and we are seeing miles-long lines of cars waiting for hard-to-find groceries and water.”

Our platoons will play a critical role in the long-term recovery efforts along with their ongoing operations on the ground. Your support is truly felt in this moment as we work side-by-side with our community partners along with our ongoing operations in communities hit hardest by the storm, compounded by the ongoing pandemic and economic crisis.

In moments like these, our veteran leaders are examples of what community-based leadership looks like. In Texas and across the country, veterans know how to respond to a crisis because of their unique ability to organize and mobilize to do what they do best—going where they are needed most.

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