My personal connection with Hurricane Harvey and an appeal to help the victims

Everyone, it seems, has been transfixed on the tragedies that continue to unfold in southeastern Texas and adjoining areas after Hurricane Harvey settled in on the Gulf Coast and dumped in excess of four feet of rain on the already low-lying areas, causing horrific damage and deaths and disrupting hundreds of thousands of lives.

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The videos and stories are impactful enough, but my wife, Debbie, and I watch with a heightened sense of concern because our youngest daughter, Melly, lives and works in downtown Houston.

We were thankful that Melly was out of town when the hurricane hit and lives in a high-rise apartment building far above the floodwaters. However, her employer, an oil and gas exploration company, has been closed all week. Also, it took Melly all week to make it back to Houston, her apartment and her beloved cats (who were well taken care of during her absence!).

Therefore, I am writing to ask the UW-Stout community to do whatever you can to help the Hurricane Harvey victims in their time of need and to help with the recovery efforts on the Gulf Coast. I am sure many of you have done this already, but I would remiss if I didn’t use my personal connection to appeal to our generous faculty, staff and students, as well as our friends in the community, for assistance.

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So how to help? Experts say financial support remains the most effective way to give aid. Here are some recommendations:

  • The American Red Cross, which has opened shelters and is getting supplies to victims, is accepting donations on its website. Donors also can call 1-800-RED-CROSS or text “Harvey” to 90999 to make contributions. Alternatively, some companies are collecting donations for the Red Cross relief effort on their websites.
  • The Salvation Army, which says it has disaster teams from across the country mobilizing to help Harvey victims and will support long-term recovery efforts, is also taking donations on its website. Or, you can call 1-800-SAL-ARMY or text “STORM” to 51555.
  • For assistance with a Wisconsin connection, former Wisconsin Badger football star JJ Watt, now a Houston Texan, has organized a crowdfunding effort at YouCaring that has raised more than $10 million for charities in southeastern Texas.

These obviously are just a few of the ways to help. My only hope is that you try to do something for the hundreds of thousands of my daughter’s fellow Texans who find themselves in dire need of assistance.

Thank you.

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