In the wake of Harvey, Friendswood students learn valuable lessons

Jeff Ehling Image
Tuesday, September 26, 2017
Friendswood HS students learn lessons from Harvey
The road to recovery stops in Friendswood, where the high school became a shelter for those impacted by Harvey.

FRIENDSWOOD, Texas (KTRK) -- The road to recovery stops in Friendswood, where the high school became a shelter for those impacted by Harvey.

Flooding destroyed hundreds of homes in and around the town.

The high school was quickly converted into a shelter and students became volunteers.

Steve Hecker's home was flooded during the storm.

"There was panic, and so we just ran in and around the house trying to figure out what we could get," said Hecker.

Hecker is the baseball coach at Friendswood High School. Before he knew it, students were at his door offering help, including his team.

"We got the news and we were like, 'ok, we got to go help him.' His house and a lot of their houses were completely flooded out," said Friendswood senior Johnnie Nemecek.

Nemecek plays centerfield for the Mustangs, but after the storm, he and hundreds of fellow students put aside their games and got work.

"We tore out dry wall, we did everything and we were looking around and thought, 'we were just in some of these houses not too long ago and they were perfectly fine.' Now you can see through to the garage, everything out, it's just crazy," said Nemecek.

Giving back to their community and their coaches has given students a new perspective.

"Just coming together as a community to go help every single one of those houses is something I think we can build off of and keep moving forward from that," said Nemecek.

And for those who needed a hand, the change is obvious.

"I can't even begin to go on to describe what it felt like to have this type of support and for my players to be there. It was really amazing," said Hecker.

Priya Ponia and dozens of fellow students took on roles they never imagined, from doing laundry and helping at the shelter, to ripping out carpet and tearing down sheetrock.

School officials say helping to rebuild has taught these students valuable lessons.

It's going to take a long time to get back to normal in Friendswood, but with the help of so many people, the community is on the road to recovery.

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