Hundreds of West U Baptist and Crosspoint Church volunteers deployed work teams to assist and feed more than 150 families in the first four days following Hurricane Harvey. Homeowner Tatiana Peterson, left, received timely assistance from volunteers with Mac Jensen, Doug Betts, Glynn Mireles and Scott Redepenning. Page 7 WEST U ESSENTIALS Do unto others, West U style IBy Elizabeth Fordham t’s as if Houston stood still under Niagara Falls, inundated with trillions of gallons of water during Hurricane Only Houston didn’t stand still. Neither did West University. epic proportions were underway to serve - forming in and around 77005 to serve the community — one neighbor at a time. By Tuesday afternoon, these teams were hitting the pavement to put Luke 6:31 into action and do unto others. West University resident Doug Betts, whose weekdays are typically focused on crude supply and trading at Chevron, led one such group of men, women and teenagers into immediate action. Box cutters, brooms and garbage bags replaced tools of technology as their work necessities, while business attire and school uniforms morphed into jeans, T-shirts and work boots. The squad’s manpower removed wet baseboards, drywall and insulation as service continued for many days. “Time was of the essence in getting our group organized, prepared and taking action,” said Betts, whose wife Tonya, instrumental in organizing, communicating and working behind the scenes and at relief sites. “Every helping hand help as many homeowners as possible. I was amazed at how quickly the team of enthusiastic volunteers grew.” This neighborhood squad also had many - tims, providing food, snacks and water for homeowners and workers, and purchasing and delivering supplies to work sites. “Work crews and the behind-the-scenes - ble precision using a group text to avoid delays and keep much-needed supplies on hand,” said Laura Mireles, a broadcast media executive whose husband Glynn, in commercial real estate, and sons Seth and Matt, both students at St. Pius X High School, worked with the hands-on crew. Betts’s 17-year old son, Alex, a junior at Bellaire High School, had his own two-man team lending a hand to those in need. Joined by friend Jacob Van Brunt, a senior at Strake Jesuit, the two saw mass devastation on news reports, borrowed a boat from one of Van Brunt’s people stranded and in need of assistance. The Weather Channel caught up with them for a live interview near was out of its banks. full swing on Bellaire Boulevard at Crosspoint Church, part of the West U Baptist. There, volunteers accepted, sorted and distributed a mountain of donations — non-perishable food items, bottled water, clothing, shoes, cleaning supplies, toiletries, high-demand items for babies – and deployed teams to assist Bellaire and West University families impacted by Hurricane Harvey. Social media was used to streamline messaging, and its pastor, Roger Patterson, posted video clips with regular updates on where volunteers and supplies were needed. “Church volunteers were joined by hundreds of community volunteers to make a positive impact through our Greater Love we live, work and worship,” said Patterson, whose home also took on several inches of water during the deluge of rainfall. “Without question, we’re created for greater,” which led to the hashtag #creat- From small groups like that of two students with a borrowed boat, to larger organized teams created by texts and video messages, the common denominator is clear: West University is a community of action. Help has been given abundantly, underway and our community is indeed #createdforgreater. High school students who exchanged school work for cleanup assistance included Ella Smith, Jacob Van Brunt, Jim Briggs, Mary Grace Gilbert, Adelaide Steineker, Katya Smith, both a worker and the granddaughter of the homeowners, Alex Betts and Cameron Roth.
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