After Hurricane Harvey made a second landfall along the Texas coast this past Tuesday, three members of the Sundt team working on the State Highway 31 project in Corsicana, Texas knew it was time to take action.
“We were close to the storm but were only affected on the outside edge,” said Project Manager Josh Bunting. “We saw on the news that the local sheriffs were asking for help.”
Josh teamed with another Project Manager, Wes Hawkins, and Field Superintendent David Gallaway to represent the Corsicana team by making a nearly seven-hour drive to the Beaumont area to help those in need. They took Josh and David’s Ford trucks and David’s brother’s fishing boat.
The men were on their way to Houston but diverted farther northeast when they heard about flooding in Beaumont, near where the storm made landfall in Port Arthur.
“We tried to get in five different ways,” Josh said. “Every way we went there was water.”
They ended up in the nearby community of Vidor, where they used the boat to rescue five people. They also saw devastation they could hardly imagine.
“You see it on TV and it doesn’t put it in perspective,” said Josh, who has worked in Texas for 7 years. “There was water halfway up the windows of houses, tons of flooded cars, churches and schools. People’s belongings were floating in the water.”
The water was so deep – Josh estimated 5 to 6 feet in many areas – that the three men drove the boat to the front door of the first person they helped.
“He had one plastic tub with his belongings in it,” Josh said. “The destruction was unbelievable. There’s just no fixing that.”
Everyone on our Corsicana crew wanted to go along but many had to stay behind to stay up to date on the project. The three who went were part of an armada of concerned people from across the region.
“There were a lot of people out there trying to get people out of their houses,” Josh said. “It was a big area. Even the couple of roads we went up and down was a small percentage of the people who needed help.”
One of the people the team rescued had a family member pick him up near Mauriceville, where the team dropped him off. The others went with volunteers to a church serving as a shelter in Buna. They all had one thing in common: gratitude for the Corsicana crew.
“They were pretty shocked,” Josh said. “One guy didn’t have a phone and didn’t know what had happened the past couple of days. He just knew his house was full of water. They were happy. They couldn’t believe it.”
There are many ways to help victims of the storm. Click here for a few suggestions.