Veteran News in Houston

First Responders, Veterans Get Special 'Thank You' for Harvey Efforts

On Oct. 3, officials from theHouston Texans and officials from Ford Motor Co. will tip their hat to the efforts of those at Combined Arms, along with many of the area’s first responders and military who also responded to Harvey flooding, with an appreciation lunch. This photo is from a similar event days earlier.

Like thousands of first responders and other volunteers, Houston’s veterans spent untold hours in the aftermath of Harvey helping fellow Texans and Houstonians.

At Combined Arms, a clearinghouse of veteran services organizations in east Houston, that meant establishing a call center and contacting local veterans. It meant sending out volunteers to muck out homes. Sending mental health workers to the shelters to help people there. Matching community-service minded residents with people who needed help. Distributing supplies. Team Rubicon, a national disaster-relief nonprofit, took over the facility’s second floor and started coordinating relief efforts from Rockport to Beaumont.

“I’m really proud of our organizations and how we responded,” said Kelly Land, executive director of Combined Arms. “We’ve never been through anything like this.”

On Tuesday, officials from theHouston Texans and officials from Ford Motor Co. will tip their hat to the efforts of those at Combined Arms, along with many of the area’s first responders and military who also responded to Harvey flooding, with an appreciation lunch.

The event aimed to thank “those who have worked tirelessly to support, repair, rebuild and protect Houston,” said Larry Gach, Ford’s regional manager in Houston, adding that it was “an honor” to serve the first responders who’ve been on the front line since day one, to the many men and women contributing to the rebuilding process.

The event is one of several stops the company is making in its “Texas Tough Tour,” which will travel to firehouses, police departments, National Guard command posts and other locations throughout the Houston area.

On Saturday, the tour traveled to the Houston Police Department’s station in west Houston, and on Monday stopped in Pasadena, visiting with firefighters there. The company said Monday they are committed to raising $3.5 million in hurricane relief, including contributing $500,000 to the American Red Cross, The Salvation Army and other agencies to assist with the relief effort.

On Tuesday, meanwhile, first responders, active duty military, National Guardsmen, and veteran volunteers will mingle with several members of the Houston Texans football team – along with their cheerleaders and mascot TORO – and eat a lunch cooked by Bryan Caswell, the restaurateur behind Reef, Little Bigs, and El Real Tex-Mex Cafe.

“This is the first event that really says thank you,” Land said. “It’s nice to be able to send out invitations to all the veterans and first responders that volunteered.”

Original story from the Houston Chronicle. By St. John Barned-Smith

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