An image of Otis the dog from Sinton, Texas, carrying around a bag of dog food, next to an image of Spiderman bringing stickers to children in Harvey shelters.

Photo via Tiele Dockens/Facebook Screengrab via StefManisero/Twitter Remix by Samantha Grasso

Amid harrowing Harvey news, these moments show Houston is a bastion of hope

Texas will prevail.

Aug 31, 2017, 9:26 am*



Samantha Grasso

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

Otis, the dog from Sinton, Texas, walked away from the storm with a bag of dog food in tow, while this scared hurricane hawk took refuge in a Houston cab driver’s vehicle.

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.

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.

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.

Mattress Mack, the owner of Gallery Furniture, a Houston furniture outlet, opened up two stores of his stores to people seeking shelter.

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.

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.

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).

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.

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Duck tour boats from Austin are on their way to deliver supplies to Houston, too.

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.

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.

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.

12) Whataburger

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.

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*First Published: Aug 31, 2017, 5:30 am