Ongoing Relief Efforts
“It is devastation, honestly.”
That was the first report out of Rockport, Texas, from the Scientology Volunteer Minister relief team in the coastal town hardest hit by Hurricane Harvey. Driving through the night on Tuesday, August 29, veteran Volunteer Minister Joava Good proceeded with her report as she surveyed Harvey’s wrath: “Trailers on top of trees. Telephone poles down for miles. Flooded roads. No power—the place is dark.”
In the days to follow, over 480 volunteers from across the U.S. converged at the Church of Scientology in Austin, Texas—the ad hoc headquarters for the Volunteer Ministers relief effort in Texas that has continued nonstop. As teams arrived, they filled vehicles with relief supplies and deployed to Rockport, Houston, Corpus Christi and other coastal cities and towns that lay in Harvey’s path. The Volunteer Ministers lived up to their reputation for arriving in an area and in a matter of hours putting order into chaos and repairing damaged homes.
With images of Houston floods filling the media, Texas Governor Greg Abbott put out the message, “Don’t forget Rockport.” Returning home to Salt Lake City, Good arranged with KSL-TV and a coalition of religious groups and charities to use the more than $1 million they had collected for Hurricane Harvey to purchase building supplies for Rockport and other towns in Aransas County. On September 26, the “Something CAN Be Done About It” convoy of eight semi trucks departed from Utah and three days and nights later pulled in to Rockport’s Aransas County Airport, with more than 200 tons of building supplies. U.S. Congressman Blake Farenthold, Rockport Mayor Charles Wax, Fulton Mayor Jimmy Kendrick and Aransas County Judge C.H. Mills, Jr. welcomed the truckers and the Volunteer Ministers with a ceremony to thank them for their unprecedented gift and for the work of the Volunteer Ministers—who remain in Rockport helping the town rebuild.