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In darkest hour, Galveston County’s lights shine brightest

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By Brandon C. Williams

The Post Newspaper Editor

As always, the best of Galveston County rose up during a challenging time as hundreds of unsung heroes stepped up during this week’s historic cold snap.

Two of the biggest heroes came from Texas City via Trey Industries and Prouty Construction, both of which came over the icy causeway in Galveston to rescue the Salvation Army from a potential disaster. The following is told from the eyes of Holly McDonald, Development Manager of Salvation Army of Galveston County:

“It has been quite a (Wednesday) at The Salvation Army in Galveston. We started out with a report that the power had come on briefly in the night but was back off (since Monday morning). There was no water service and the toilets were reaching critical mass. Typically a Salvation Army shelter, or any shelter for that matter, would not be able to operate without water, let alone without power at the same time. The alternative, to put 76 people out on the street during an artic storm was not really an option for us. 

“Our friends from the Mainland have stepped in to provide relief and to make it possible to continue for a while longer. Sonny and Dawn Tholcken of Trey Industries brought us 200 gallons of non-potable water for flushing which our shelter guests quickly went to work toting upstairs, flushing and cleaning toilets and getting set up for the evening with extra water. Jeff Prouty of Prouty Construction and Guaranteed Roofing and Remodeling blessed us with 500 more gallons. They not only brought the water, but left their trailers and committed to refilling when the need presents itself. These heroes stabilized a very dangerous situation for us. 

“The Galveston County Food Bank brought us a refrigerated trailer with generators and some more food and drinking water. We are lucky to have a gas stove so even without power we can provide food to go along with the shelf-stable supplies provided by the Food Bank. 

We have been told by Galveston Emergency Management and Representative Mayes Middleton that Portable toilets will be delivered to us, probably tomorrow. What started out as a very hopeless day is looking up tonight. We are thankful for the support of our community for these people who are seeking shelter in our care and especially thankful to God for putting people in our lives who have the resources and willingness to do all kinds of unusual things! We are praying for all the people in our county but especially for those on the island who have really been hit hard in this situation.”

La Marque Mayor Keith Bell was front and center throughout the storm, particularly on the corner of Cedar and Lake Road, where a makeshift diner was created to feed hungry residents. Hundreds of hamburgers and hot dogs were made during a three-day period that started on Wednesday. The gesture was followed up by Word Power Church, where Pastor Brian Young served hot meals at Mainland City Centre on Friday afternoon.

Bell and Young were just two of the many others in the area who followed the words in Hebrews 13:16 (“Do not neglect to do good and share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God”). Others also braved the cold and ignored the discomfort of no electricity nor running water to check up on their neighbors.

Among the heroes was Lone Star Pharmacy in Santa Fe, which braved the lack of power to fill the prescriptions of its customers.

Of course, no story on heroes cannot be written without mention of the area’s first responders, who all carried on their roles. In Texas City, the police department received 141 calls on Tuesday alone, while the fire department took in 73 calls. The city’s dispatch team fielded a whopping 677 calls on Tuesday in a tireless effort that tested their limits.

Each city in the county distributed water on Friday as the combination of still-low water pressure and a boiling water request carried into the weekend.

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