Pflugerville leaders discuss Harvey’s impact, how to help
Friday, September 08, 2017
Local business leaders and city officials Thursday morning discussed the impact of Hurricane Harvey during the inaugural Business Pfirst meeting.
The meeting, aimed at connecting business owners with one another and to local resources, was utilized to brief the community on what local industries were affected by flood waters and how businesses are taking part in relief efforts.
The Pflugerville Community Development Corporation, a semi-autonomous organization that works to boost the city economy, oversaw the meeting.
Pflugerville Mayor Victor Gonzales and city corporation Executive Director Amy Madison opened the conversation by reminding the community that everyone in Texas was impacted by Hurricane Harvey in some way. Gonzales’ sister-in-law had visited last week after being evacuated amid a chemical plant explosion caused by flooding just outside Houston.
Best Western Plus Pflugerville Inn and Suites and Courtyard By Marriott Austin Pflugerville hotels reportedly housed displaced families fleeing dangerous flood waters in the Houston, Galveston and South Texas coastal areas. The community and staff hosted a donation drive Friday at the Marriott, and Best Western Inn hosted a homemade lunch for evacuees on Labor Day.
“It’s the community coming together in a situation that’s unpredictable and unexpected,” Gonzales said.
Pflugerville school district’s students and staff also answered the call for help from fellow Texans, raising money and donations for impacted areas.
Caldwell Elementary is holding a collection drive through Sept. 22 while Rowe Lane hosted a Salvation Army that ended Friday per the district’s website. Cele Middle School adopted Crosby Middle School in Hitchcock, and Kelly Lane Middle School is supporting Rockport-Fulton Middle School through October.
Park Crest Middle School plans to support one middle school in the Houston area that has reached out for help. Westview Middle School adopted Aldine Middle School in Houston, and Hendrickson High School has raised more than $500 for relief efforts.
“One of the things a lot of people don’t realize is that it’s the month or two after a big hurricane that they really need help,” said Superintendent Doug Killian, who previously served in the same capacity at a district impacted by Hurricane Ike.
Killian urged the community to continue finding ways to help affected areas. School board President Vernagene Mott said the district will be sensitive to the needs of students from areas hit by Harvey who are now attending schools in Pflugerville.
Two local industry leaders with offices in the Houston area reported as many as six employees losing their homes in the floods and many others without vehicles. Other local business people have family and friends who are displaced.
Jeff Coleman, former mayor and an insurance agent, reminded attendees to help Rockport and neighboring communities, including helping clear debris. He said his parents are staying with him after evacuations in the area.
“They’ve been hit very hard and it’s going to take at least a couple of years to recover,” Coleman said.
Christine Bolaños, Austin Statesman, statesman.com, 9/8/2017