Hurricane Harvey produced no shortage of heartbreaking stories about Houston-area residents affected by the historic storm.
One that particularly moved me was the tale of Doris Davis, an 81-year-old Houstonian with diabetes and limited mobility. When the hurricane hit, Doris was trapped in her home for three days as the floodwaters rose. Eventually she was rescued and evacuated, along with her wheelchair and three dogs. But several feet of flooding caused the interior of the home she left behind to be destroyed.
Enter Rebuilding Together Houston, a local non-profit that does exactly what its name suggests. And while one might think it was created expressly to deal with the aftermath of Harvey, it’s actually been around for years to provide safe and healthy homes for every citizen. Few organizations are better suited to the task facing the greater Houston area.
I have been proud to serve on the board of Rebuilding Together Houston for a number of years. I’m even prouder that numerous ExxonMobil employee and retiree volunteers have given their time and money to support the organization for even longer.
Last week, we teamed up with Rebuilding Together Houston and Chip and Joanna Gaines to kick off efforts to ensure that Doris Davis had a home to come back to. With nearly 60 ExxonMobil volunteers, we were able to help restore Ms. Davis’s house and make her whole. Here’s a good story about the effort from one of the local television stations.
“Houston is going to be better than ever,” said Chip Gaines in USA Today. “It’s just going to take a lot of effort and a lot of hard work, and I just don’t want people to forget what’s happened here.”
I was struck by something Joanna Gaines said the next day at a forum with ExxonMobil employees. She said when she arrived at the site, the volunteers all had smiles on their faces. “There was just something about it that reminds you that in the midst of tragedy and loss, there’s always hope to be found.”
Indeed there is. That hope is something Rebuilding Together Houston offers to so many people year in and year out. At ExxonMobil, we’re delighted to team up with them and spread hope throughout the region.
Bryan Milton is president of ExxonMobil’s Fuels, Lubricants & Specialties Marketing Company.