We, the Greater Houston Community, are currently in the middle of a widespread flood event to a degree that no one has seen before. We will not know the true impact of Hurricane Harvey flooding for weeks. To provide some insight and guidance, I’ve been using the following priorities:
Priority Level 1: Safety. Focus on the safety of your families, neighbors, and property while the weather and flood event continues to escalate. Combined Arms (CAX) Mission is to inform Houston veterans of official emergency services and opportunities to donate and volunteer where safe to do so.
Priority Level 2: Assess and Plan. As situation stabilizes (i.e. Floodwaters recede and dangerous storms cease) CAX will become aware and assess the situation. What is condition of CAX Transition Center, status of CAX Organizations, their employees and volunteers? What resources are available to deploy for support?
Priority Level 3: Coordinate and Respond. Offer CAX human, physical and virtual resources to support on-going recovery efforts. It is VERY important not to duplicate services. We want to augment official recovery and relief efforts, not divert resources away from them.
As the situation progresses, our organizations will deploy resources in the following fashion (in many cases, Combined Arms member organizations are already providing these resources):
- Volunteer Resources. Coordinate volunteers to assist in relief and recovery operations.
- Critical Needs Resources. Coordinate homeless, financial, and critical resources will be utilized (if not already) into area relief centers to provide assistance.
- Wellness Resources. Coordinate with area shelters to provide mental wellness services to displaced persons.
- Our Transition Center will act as an area tools donation hub and central operations location (as necessary) once it has been deemed accessible and safe for entry.
- Our website and social media will assist in providing a voice for efforts as well as a clearing house for good official resources.
As an example of how veterans are contributing, attendees of the VA National Women’s Veterans Summit who were stranded at their hotel provided counseling services to displaced persons at the George R. Brown Conference Center in downtown. Also, we have Team Rubicon in Houston with 3 boats performing water rescue. They’ll be responding to volunteers with waterborne assets within the next day as they stand up their coordination center.
My hope is that those who are still in harm’s way continue to seek assistance from official emergency response resources. Focus on your personal safety and the safety of your family. For those who have not been directly affected by the floods, where safe to do so, provide assistance to neighbors, friends or integrate with on-going relief efforts. Take your time and be safe. This is going to be a marathon, not a sprint.
Please continue to follow us and our member organizations on Social Media. We’ll pass along opportunities to volunteer and donate tools, clothing, etc.
Let’s show our community what Veterans can do!