Bryan County/Durant Emergency Management Director James Dalton summed it up Wednesday when he said, “This will end up being the greatest natural disaster in U.S. history. It will far exceed Katrina or Sandy.”
Durant and area residents and businesses are combining efforts to help provide relief for hurricane Harvey victims.
Dalton said, “So much of infrastructure has been impacted and the debris alone from all these damaged buildings is going to be astronomical. This will be years in recovery. This is not a quick fix.”
The 4th largest city in the U.S. will take years to get back to normal with their resources.
The outlying areas damaged will take even longer because they don’t have the resources that Houston has.
A major speedy relief effort is being mounted in this area with cooperation from many agencies.
Bryan County Emergency Management and Bryan County United Way have teamed up to take donations at Texoma Educator’s Federal Credit Union at 424 N. Washington.
Today until 4 p.m., they will accept certain items, then after 4 p.m. today, Walmart will be the drop-off location.
Those trailers will leave on September 1st in order to get the products in people’s hands who need it fast.
He said about the fast turnaround, “We may do another one later.”
The need is immediate, unlike a Christmas food drive or other drives.
Dalton said, “They can buy things at Walmart and drop them off right outside at our trailer that will be located there.”
Durant Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Janet Reed and Bryan County United Way Executive Director Pam Robinson both issued the following press release Wednesday:
“HURRICANE HARVEY RELIEF: Texoma Educators Federal Credit Union is partnering with Bushwackers Land Clearing to help provide relief for individuals and families affected by Hurricane Harvey. Trailers will be stationed at Walmart in Durant, 3712 W Main St, taking donations beginning at 4 p.m. on Thursday, August 31. Texoma Educators Federal Credit Union will also be accepting donations at all of their branches until 4 p.m. on August 31. Branches are located in Sherman at 506 W Lamar St., in Denison at 530 W. Woodard St, and in Durant at 424 N. Washington Ave. Supplies needed at this time are: Cleaning Supplies, Dish detergent, Sponges, Mops, Brooms, Laundry detergent, Gloves, Box cutters, Razor blades, Trash bags, Diapers (baby & adult), Wipes, Towels, Bedding, New pillows, Back to school supplies, Water, Canned goods, NO CLOTHING at this time.
Monetary donations will also be accepted and can be made to Bryan County United Way where they will be directed to the appropriate place. After trailers are loaded with supplies, they will be taken to Westbury Baptist Church in Houston, TX. For more information, contact Kelli Fesperman at (903) 892-1505 or (580) 931-7381 or any of the following agencies: Bryan County United Way at (580) 931-7147, Denison Chamber of Commerce at (903) 465-1551, Durant Area Chamber of Commerce at (580) 924-0848, Grayson County United Way at (903) 893-1920, Sherman Chamber of Commerce at (903) 893-1184. Or visit Texomans for Harvey Relief on Facebook.”
Dalton said about the items going straight to a church in Houston, “They will have it set up to get it directly into someone’s hands to get it out.”
In other words, it will go straight to those in need, from trailer to consumption or use.
He said, “This is huge! Because they are using private, faith-based church, it will get to the people quicker than if it went through the government. They don’t have all the red tape the government has. They can immediately start dispersing that when it arrives in Houston.”
Other efforts will continue in the area.
Calera Manor Nursing Home in Calera is stepping up for their relief effort. Katelyn Mitchell said, “The residents of Calera Manor saw Hurricane Harvey on TV and wanted to help. They decided to host a donation drive in an effort to provide aid to the residents of Houston and surrounding areas. If any business, organization or individuals would like to make a donation, it can be dropped off anytime at Calera Manor 1061 N. Service Road, in Calera.
Relief efforts for first responders is planned.
Kristen Miller said, “We have several teams deployed to Texas from EMS. They will be switching out teams for the next few weeks. EMS at 306 South 22nd Ave., Durant, will be accepting donations to help the first responders. Some of the things they are in need of is: Bottled water, Gatorade, baby wipes, bug spray, toilet paper, snack bars, breakfast bars, snacks, deodorant, foot powder and Clorox wipes. EMS and first responders appreciate any support we can give them.”
Independent relief efforts will undoubtedly grow with time as people’s compassion grows for the victims.
Judy Carter has a relief effort.
She said, “ I’m gathering items and drop-off location are Hotshots Coffee, Believers Church behind Brown’s Funeral Home and MENS truck stop. I will be picking up from those locations.”
Another independent effort: Shanna Johnson said, “I’m a drop-off location in Durant and will be going with donations on Saturday morning. Drop off at 126 N. 3rd or call 580-380-8875.”
KSEO will be broadcasting today from 2-6 p.m. from the Durant Walmart.
As Director of Emergency Management, Dalton’s job is never ending in this relief effort.
He said, “I’ve been working very heavily on the personnel side of the relief effort.”
It’s a two-part effort for Emergency Management.
They have to coordinate first responders to help with rescue and lifesaving efforts.
Then they will coordinate products to be delivered to the victims of Harvey.
Dalton said about today’s effort, “If a person doesn’t want to go buy the items needed, they can make donations at the Bryan County United Way and Pam Robinson will see that their donations are properly routed.”
They are located inside the lobby of the Bryan Hotel with a mailing address of P.O. Box 192, Durant, Oklahoma, 74702, according to their website. United Way’s phone number is (580) 920-7147.
There will be efforts not listed here but the Durant Daily Democrat will help promote any legitimate relief effort in the future.
Contact Dan Pennington at (580) 634-2162 or firstname.lastname@example.org