In July, I visited Houston, Texas for the first time in my life. It's a trip with two of my best friends I will never forget. I was blessed to experience the art and culture that is bred into downtown Houston and surrounding suburbs, as well as the infectious hospitality that the city prides itself on.
Although I only visited once, Houston is a place I would like to go back to and work in one day if life's road points me in that direction. So when I watched the development of Hurricane Harvey and monitored its landfall my heart broke immediately.
As a teenager, I experienced the April 27th, 2011 tornado outbreak that devastated Alabama and the rest of the South first hand, helping first hand in cleaning up the debris and shattered remains of people's homes left behind when the dust settled. It's something I will never forget. Although tornadoes and hurricanes are different, the principle of enduring such a traumatic event remains the same.
I'm a weather geek, and I didn't see this coming. The northeastern band (which is considered the point of highest winds and heaviest rainfall) blasted the coast near Galveston and made its way into Houston, and over the course of five days continued to sit on top of the Texas coast before transitioning northeast.
To the people of Houston, keep persevering. Keep fighting. Keep surviving. Keep showing this nation that Houston has the strongest sense of community in America. Keep showing us that hell nor hurricane can keep the spirit of Texas down.
To Sergeant Steve Perez who drowned after a rescue trying to escape rising waters, your heroism and courage were not in vain.
To the families who have been displaced, I know the gift of life and the blessings we experience as Americans are sweeter now than they've ever been before.
To the city of Houston, live to fight another day, and continue to inspire us to hope we can all handle such a tragedy like you have.
As an Alabamian, a Southerner and an American, I can say the entire country is behind you in every recovery and rebuilding effort. It always amazes me how the spirit of a broken city can still beam through the clouds and rain and inspire a nation to take action.
Some of Hollywood's best: J-Lo, the Kardashians, Kevin Hart, The Rock, Houston Texan J.J. Watt and more have all took to social media to speak of their personal donations to relief efforts, inspiring countless others to do the same. People from my college are working through their respective organizations they're involved with (Red Cross, ASPCA, FEMA,etc.) to help people 10 hours away from us.
It always brings me happiness to see the generosity and kindness that comes from the result of a natural disaster. My earliest childhood memories remind me of sending care packages to those in New Orleans after Katrina, to more recently with the April 27th super outbreak and Hurricane Sandy in the Northeast and raising donations.
Whether it's dimes and quarters given by kids in grade school, or hundreds of thousands donated by a Kardashian, the best of us comes out in the worst times. To the people of Houston, keep persevering. Keep fighting. Keep surviving. Keep showing this nation that Houston has the strongest sense of community in America.
Keep showing us that hell nor hurricane can keep the spirit of Texas down.