NORTH WILKESBORO, N.C. – As thousands of people continue to be affected by the devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey, aid is on the way. Some, from the Piedmont, and Samaritan’s Purse.
“We’ve been planning for several weeks now. As soon as we seen it on the horizon we started making plans,” said Travis Hall, a driver and mechanic with Samaritan’s Purse. “We’re fortunate. With the hurricane, you can see these, with other disasters you can’t see them coming.”
On Tuesday, Hall embarked on a journey in a tractor-trailer, carrying supplies to help in the relief effort.
Inside, there are dozens of cabinets carrying everything from generators, to paper products, to first aid kits. Hall’s trailer is the fourth of five which Samaritan’s Purse is sending to the hardest-hit areas of Texas.
“Sometimes it can really be tough,” Hall said, of getting into disaster areas. “A lot of road closures, a lot of times we’ll have to get police escorts in and out of where we’re going.”
But, the 20-some-odd hour drive from the Samaritan’s Purse warehouse in North Wilkesboro is just the beginning of the journey.
“People want to come shake your hand, tell you ‘thank you.’ Going down the roads you get a lot of thumbs up, people blowing their horns giving you thumbs up,” Hall said. “Just really thankful that we’re here, that we’re coming in.”
Samaritan’s Purse officials say they already have about 60 volunteers in the Victoria, Texas area. Pictures from the volunteers already show them clearing debris, assessing damage to homes and comforting those who are affected.
“This is what we’re geared for,” said Tim Haas, Manager of U.S. Disaster Relief for Samaritan’s Purse. “This is what we do.”
Haas says the organization plans to send additional volunteers into the Rockport and Houston areas in coming days, as water levels continue to rise.
“As bad as all of that is, especially where the eye wall made landfall, the big event is the rain,” he said. “It may be this weekend before the crest of many of those rivers reaches its maximum.”
Haas added that they “will leverage all of [their] resources from Samaritan’s Purse to this event,” saying that they’re committing to work there “not just for weeks or months, but for years.”