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Front Page September 5, 2017  RSS feed

Hurricane Harvey – True Colors

By Sherry Matney

T.J. Loftin with granddaughters Lindsey and Ashton Mayer unload a truck full of toiletries and gifts for Harvey guests. Sherry’s Shots T.J. Loftin with granddaughters Lindsey and Ashton Mayer unload a truck full of toiletries and gifts for Harvey guests. Sherry’s Shots The term True Colors can mean several things. It is a popular singing group, it is the name of a song, it is also the name of a conservative opinion news post. But where did the term begin? Years ago, color came from plant sources and when synthetic dyes came of the market, most of them were of inferior quality. “True colors” from the plants did not fade but remained bright. When things get tough your “true colors” show and those colors do not fade. In Flo and Leon County residents recently showed their True Colors in the aftermath of the Harvey devastation.

The Flo Community had the opportunity to show its “True Colors” last week when some were asked to open the Lone Star Community Center to our neighbors to the south who have lost everything. It began when John Corbitt, a Flo resident, received a call from a friend, Jeff Jones, who is a member with John, of Texas Deerbreeders Association. The friend asked Corbitt if he knew of a place in Leon County that could house some of the thousands of evacuees out of the Texas coastal area. Initially the evacuees were expected to be a group out of Port Lavaca and then it changed so it could be anyone along the hurricane path.

Corbitt evaluated a few locations and determined that, all things considered, the Lone Star Community Center would be a place that could house a number of people for a short period of time. It has a large gymnasium, a kitchen and dining room, bathrooms with showers and a playground for children. The Board of the Center gave its support and the wheels went into action.

Face Book and social media is a blessing and a curse. The curse side is it caused misunderstandings and misinformation. Someone posted on Face Book that the Center would be receiving up to 200 persons and immediately the phones began ringing. People were concerned that the Center could not handle that many people. Others worried about security with that many guests at the Center. The County said the Center was not authorized to take care of evacuees.

The blessing side of social media is that because of the Face Book post people who have wanted to help began calling with question about how to deliver donations. Dozens of calls came in from individuals who wanted to help with food. Another dozen dropped of baskets and boxes of toiletries and other necessary items. One Sunday School class from First Baptist Buffalo brought 100 clear plastic shoe boxes full of personal toilet items, 50 for men and 50 for women. Individuals have brought carloads of clothes, paper goods and bath items.

Food came in by the carload when one man donated a freezer full of food from the Fairfield Food Bank. Another family repainted and refurbished one of the old classrooms and made it into a playroom for children. Another group cleaned up a storage area in order to have a place to store the non-perishable donations.

One family fixed the showers and added new showerheads, fixed plumbing and light fixtures.

The Flo Volunteer Fire Department volunteered to provide cases of their water that had recently been donated for firemen use. They have also agreed to be on security patrol during the duration of the housing.

The friends from Port Lavaca were not able to get out of that area because of high water and were directed to another shelter. On Monday a family of five, from the north-east Houston area, were invited to pick what they needed from the donations, since everything they had was lost in the flood. The family is currently living in an apartment in Buffalo. Margo Carmichael who has worked everyday to get ready said, “This was the most humbling and rewarding experience of my entire life. When I saw that two year old’s face light up when he picked out a toy, my heart melted and it was worth everything.”

At the time of this writing, the Center does not have any guests and may never house anyone. They are hoping more families in the area that have relocated from the coast will find their way to Flo and receive some of the many donations.

The Center will continue to be a donation drop off site with hours from 10 to 1 and from 4 to 7 every weekday. It will remain open through the month of September and then whatever remains will be delivered to Houston and Coastal areas.

The Lone Star Community Center has been overwhelmed by the support of the Flo and surrounding communities. It is impossible to thank everyone but a special thanks goes to John and Marlo Corbitt, Chase and Sherry Lee, the Grimes family, the Duncan family and First Baptist Church Buffalo. The community is grateful that these Leon County folks colors are true!!

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