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  • Phyllis H. Moore

Some Bobcats Need Shelter

Are you tired of hearing about hurricanes? I live on an island. Hurricane Ike hit here in 2008 and locals are still talking about it, because it rocks your world, but it also brings out the best in people and gives them lessons to carry with them the rest of their lives. I remember the hurricanes from my childhood, especially Carla. I was in the fourth grade.

I grew up in a little town in south Texas, Refugio. Don't even try to pronounce it. All you need to know is it means "refuge". It took a direct hit from Hurricane Harvey a few weeks ago. Most of the structures in town were damaged or destroyed, including the homes of children intending to live out their dreams of playing on the local high school football team. It's a Friday night lights town. Football is Refugio. All you have to do is drive into town from the north and see the majestic stadium on the right to know this town reveres high school football. I have mixed feelings about this much attention going to athletics in high school. However when you listen to the coach, Coach Herring, and hear him talking to those young men, you realize it's about much more than football. It's about life and taking care of each other.

The devastation to the town cannot be explained. Pictures don't even show the impact. The schools were heavily damaged. The apartment complexes and motels that FEMA would normally use to temporarily house people are uninhabitable. Eight students, football players, are sleeping on cots in the weight room of the high school. Locals and alumni are donating Whataburger (the only restaurant open) gift cards for their meals. Their families have been displaced to motels and apartments up to two hours away, and this housing is temporary.

I reviewed the criteria for applying for a grant to the JJ Watt Foundation this morning. It is strict and I understand it has to be. I thought maybe a football player might be able to identify with the emotional support these students get from their families and be able to partner with a mobile home company or something to help with this situation. I don't know what the answer is, but I do know people smarter than me can help with a solution.

There are a little over 50 students in the graduating class at Refugio High School this year. That number may dwindle due to displaced families. Temporary and permanent housing is a critical need and as usual, the wheels of government turn very slowly to address this problem, and don't always take into account keeping families together or allowing students to stay in the school they grew up in. Response to a disaster is about meeting immediate needs and seldom projects into the future. However, as you can see from the video in the link above, Coach Herring is thinking of the future, not only those of his athletes, but ours, the humanity of us.

This seems overwhelming, huh? However, I have a feeling there is an answer. Not all bobcats can sleep in the wild.

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