Volunteers help clean debris in San Leon

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October 6, 2008 4:44:02 AM PDT
Cleanup from Hurricane Ike is getting to be overwhelming for some, but one community is already starting to bounce back.ROAD TO RECOVERY: How you can help | School closings | Person locator | Important phone numbers | Assistance from FEMA | Filing a claim | Latest power numbers

Many communities along Galveston Bay are working to get back to normal. It's been a little over three weeks since Hurricane Ike barreled into the Texas coast and storm victims are working hard to make a dent in the piles of damage.

For several folks, including residents in San Leon, they can't do it alone.

Volunteers have come from a state that is no stranger to hurricanes.

"One tree at a time," said volunteer Kevin Saxton. "We are trying to help out these Texas people, the elderly people and people who don't have any money."

People were picking up debris, trimming trees at homes like David Johnson's.

"There's no way I could do this by myself," said Johnson. "It's really appreciated."

Richard Hulburt is a retired ATF agent from near Orlando. His crew is working paid jobs during the week, but they are giving back by using their weekends to work for free.

"When we were driving around looking for work, we found San Leon and saw the attention hasn't been given here, because it's primarily a poorer community, and that's why we are here trying to help these people," said Hulburt.

The Florida crew worked just a couple of blocks from Galveston Bay Sunday and they say they are relocating here because the economy in their home state is so bad and from the looks of things here, there is a lot of work to be done.

While Ike left this small city of 5,000 three weeks ago, you don't have to look far to see reminders both big and small.

"I got fifteen minutes of church before I came here when we were in the tent and listening to these stories. It's just sad," said Saxton.

The day ended with a few more trees trimmed.

"Ten hour days, give it everything we got," said Saxton.

There is a little less litter along the way.

"We're here for the duration, not just for the sprint," said Hulburt.

Finding the end will be a true exercise in endurance and patience.

"I believe they are pulling together pretty good. The San Leon community is like no other community," said Johnson.

A local church in San Leon is serving as a staging area for crews to get their assignments. This morning, they gathered for a quick church service before heading out for a long day's work.

Keep your family safe this hurricane season. Check our complete tropical weather preparation guide


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