Mattress Mack hosts gathering to reunite with Hurricane Harvey victims who used Gallery Furniture as shelter

Monday, August 27, 2018
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Mattress Mack will be reuniting with Harvey victims who used his store as shelter.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- On the one year anniversary of Harvey, the hurricane that crippled Houston with more than 50 inches of rain, one of the city's most familiar faces hosted a reunion for people who were given sanctuary at his business.

Jim McIngvale, known better as Mattress Mack, ordered employees to pick up people stranded in their homes and cars. They were brought to the Gallery Furniture showroom and warehouse on the north freeway, as well as a second showroom in Richmond off the Grand Parkway.

One of the people who stayed several days and nights is now a Gallery Furniture employee.

"I had been out of a job since January of last year. While I was staying at Gallery Furniture, I was also a volunteer, helping the other people flooded out of their homes. Mac saw me work and offered me a job," Ariel said.

Hilton furniture trucks were also part of the response to help out in the storm from which the region has yet to fully recover.

"The real heroes in this go to the first responders," said McIngvale. "They saved people. We did what the rest of Houston did, pulled together and help each other."

Sunday night, there was a Harvey reunion, dubbed "Unity in Community," at the store where people were allowed to stay for days until the water receded. After that, Gallery operated as a center for cleaning supplies, clothes, diapers, also operating as a donation dropoff point.

"We did the same thing after Katrina," McIngvale said. "Helping out people with nowhere else to go."

He remembers this day from a year ago clearly.

"We sent out the trucks and brought people here. They were shellshocked, and we told them to go inside and get dry and warm and get food," McIngvale said. It came at a time when official shelters were overwhelmed.

When asked about a Gallery Furniture emergency plan, Mack replied, "It's simple. Help people."

He admits some of his own employees were unable to get into work because of the water.

"We'll get them in before a storm the next time," he said.

When asked if he would do it again, he replied, "In a New York minute."

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