The rescue efforts in Texas amid Tropical Storm Harvey have only just begun. FEMA estimates it may be assisting Texas for years to come, and as rainwater floods towns along the eastern Gulf Coast into Louisiana and the death toll rises, a semblance of hope is hard to find.
But the flooded plains of Houston, as well as the hurricane-torn areas of Corpus Christi, Rockport, and Galveston, Texas, are strong. Texas is strong, and between the live shots of assisted living patients being lifted into rescue boats and small animals shivering in the rain, symbolic messages and images of kindness and resilience have shown us that Texas, through the devastation, will prevail.
Here are the reminders that Harvey may have messed with Texas, but it will never break the spirit of its people…or pets.
1) The animal heroes
— Laura Huffman Powell (@LHuffmanPowell) August 26, 2017
WATCH: A man in Houston claims a hawk would not leave his taxi cab as Hurricane Harvey barreled toward Texas Friday morning. pic.twitter.com/j2nZbarkvZ
— NBC News (@NBCNews) August 26, 2017
2) The beer messenger
One friendly Galvestonian couldn’t help but offer Fox News reporter Casey Stegall a six pack of the island’s finest brew while the storm surged, the hurricane’s touchdown just hours away. Stegall himself called it a moment of levity during serious reporting.
— FOX 4 NEWS (@FOX4) August 25, 2017
3) Company angels
Countless companies and Houston stores have opened their doors to feed and shelter people displaced by the storm. Texas grocer HEB has deployed tens of disaster relief trucks with hot meals, showers, business centers, and more, to give affected Texans a semblance of normalcy in the mess.
— Brian Curtis (@BrianCurtisNBC5) August 28, 2017
Our Disaster Relief Units are in Rockport (serving community) and Houston (serving first responders), providing meals and more. pic.twitter.com/8g3loRH2Wq
— H-E-B (@HEB) August 30, 2017
Buc-ee’s, the beloved Texas-sized truck stop and gas station chain, allowed emergency personnel to eat and sleep in the store, on its dime.
— FBCSO Texas (@FBCSO) August 25, 2017
Mattress Mack, the owner of Gallery Furniture, a Houston furniture outlet, opened up two stores of his stores to people seeking shelter.
Our GF N FWRY & GF Grand PKWY stores are open for those in need. If you can safely join us, we invite you for shelter and food. God Bless. pic.twitter.com/IHHgjKmjMY
— MattressMack (@MattressMack) August 28, 2017
Our GF N FRWY & GF Grand Parkway locations are open for those in need.If you can safely join us, we invite you for free food & safe shelter. pic.twitter.com/NqNdLo2iIP
— Gallery Furniture (@GFToday) August 27, 2017
Waffle House, too, has kept its lights on and has only closed two locations because of flooding. They’ve even bussed down “jump teams” from Ohio, Tennessee, and Georgia for extra help.
— ＷＥＴ ＡＲＭＡＤＩＬＬＯ (@BauceSauce) August 30, 2017
— chelsea brasted (@cabrasted) August 29, 2017
4) Spider-Man spirit-raisers
Droves of private citizens who have been able to escape to floodwaters are pulling together to donate money and resources for relief efforts, to rescue other Texans, or, like this Spider-Man, to make life easier on storm evacuees.
Your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man making kids smile at the GRB: pic.twitter.com/K2NSweXAE4
— Stef Manisero (@StefManisero) August 29, 2017
— Stef Manisero (@StefManisero) August 29, 2017
— CNN (@CNN) August 30, 2017
5) Silver-lining chasers
Meanwhile, others have found a silver lining within the isolation, literally taking to the streets to entertain themselves (despite, you know, a storm surging through the city).
I asked my buddy in Houston if he was OK yesterday. He sent me this video of bros playing beer pong on I-10. pic.twitter.com/0Nj3BSmjeE
— John Turner (@TohnJurner) August 29, 2017
6) The informal ‘Texas Navy’
Private citizens throughout Houston are hauling their boats through water as part of the “Texas Navy,” fashioned after the “Cajun Navy” that formed as a rescue response to Hurricane Katrina victims. They have evacuated people unable to reach the overwhelmed police, fire department, and Coast Guard.
— Texas Game Warden (@TexasGameWarden) August 29, 2017
The dog rescuers of Houston well done guys pic.twitter.com/eK3rmXR4gp
— dominic dyer (@domdyer70) August 28, 2017
People heading to Houston with boats to help those in need
Here's how you can help ->https://t.co/K6z54tu4UH
(via FB Veronika Previte) https://t.co/UCj2BfAt4T
— Complex (@Complex) August 30, 2017
Duck tour boats from Austin are on their way to deliver supplies to Houston, too.
— Emily Ramshaw (@eramshaw) August 30, 2017
Amazing scenes in Richmond, a half hour from Houston. So many boats. So many evacuees. So many volunteers. Nonstop all day. pic.twitter.com/uzKBiQ4uNb
— Jacob Rascon (@KPRC2Jacob) August 28, 2017
7) The Texas Navy-beer messenger hybrid
Because nothing beats a rough rescue like a few shots of vodka (or water, if you listen to this reporter).
8) The impromptu journalist rescuer
Even reporters have helped to save several people through the storm.
— Joshua Chavers (@JoshuaChavers) August 30, 2017
9) True comfort foodies
These bakers trapped inside one of El Bolillo Bakery’s locations decided to make the best of a tight situation and baked dozens of sheets of pan dulce for displaced Houstonians.
— B (@YonksHTX) August 29, 2017
10) Persistent shelter-needing activists
People looking to help the displaced even dragged famed televangelist Joel Osteen for not opening his megachurch, seemingly unaffected by the storm, as a shelter. It wasn’t until pressure mounted that the preacher decided to open the church’s doors, claiming that he hadn’t before because the city hadn’t asked.
11) Education saviors
When the children of Houston finally go back to school, they’ll have three free meals a day to look forward to—which is one less thing parents will have to worry about in recuperating from the disaster.
— The Root (@TheRoot) August 30, 2017
And if the actions of kind, giving Texans aren’t enough to lift the spirit, perhaps this worn Whataburger sign blessed with a rainbow is just the symbol we need.
— J J Gottsch (@jjgottsch) August 29, 2017
Texas will come back better than ever
— Whataburger® (@Whataburger) August 29, 2017