Stone World Blog

Houston, We Have Big Problems

September 23, 2008
/ Print / Reprints /
/ Text Size+
This tornado-ravaged home in central florida is similar to what many are returning to in Texas.

Three years ago this month I joined a group of about a dozen volunteers on an emergency trip to Gulfport, Miss. We were a couple weeks behind Hurricane Katrina and traveling with an 18-wheeler loaded with supplies. The devastation was still immense as we arrived.

Our little group handed out tons of water, sports drinks, diapers, canned food, clothes, hygiene products and more. We cleared debris, cut fallen trees and placed tarps on roofs.

The trip is now a prized memory, but not because of the small dent we made in the hurricane-sized mess that was the Gulf Coast. Rather, it was seeing the selfless army of regular folks who came from every corner of our country to offer their support.

There were doctors, nurses, firemen, teachers and retailers. There were waitresses, landscapers, shop foreman, bankers and students. There were people from every background who came to simply lend a hand to those in need.

But the volunteers who inspired me the most were those doing construction work. These workers arrived early, kept coming and stayed late. Some may still be in New Orleans helping the city rebuild.

The construction trades were especially generous in response to Katrina. Most trade associations raised funds, formed response teams and encouraged their members to help.

And help they did. Plumbers, drywallers, HVAC contractors, roofers, electricians, framers, builders and every other trade descended on the Gulf Coast to bring relief. Their experience and skills provided critical leadership to the rebuilding process.

I was fortunate to be a firsthand witness to our country operating at its best. In contrast to critical media reports, I saw a spirit of service, sacrifice and gratitude that was often overwhelming. A few times our group overlapped with other volunteers offering similar help. What a great problem.

Now our eyes are fixed on Texas, Louisiana and the other states that bore the brunt of Hurricane Ike. On Wednesday, Galveston Mayor Lynda Ann Thomas announced she was seeking $2 billion in federal relief for her city alone. Who knows what the final total will be once all the impacted areas fully assess their damages?

As a nation, I wonder how we’ll respond. On one hand, the human toll is less overwhelming because people took reasonable precautions and Ike was less devastating than Katrina.

On the other hand, those without homes and basic services still number in the hundreds of thousands. Insurance won’t cover everything and the government can’t and shouldn’t meet every need. Don’t these victims deserve some of the same volunteer help we gave following Katrina?

Or perhaps the struggling economy and series of natural disasters have sapped our helping spirit. I hope not. And I hope the construction trades again provide their extremely valuable volunteer support.

If you’re in the construction trades, volunteer your time and skills, or encourage your staff to do so, to help rebuild or repair damaged homes in the Gulf Coast region. Contact your industry’s national associations to find out if they are sponsoring work teams. If you live near the impacted areas, contact your local or state organization.

You can be certain your efforts will make a difference in someone’s life.
You must login or register in order to post a comment.



Image Galleries

November 2014 Stone Products Gallery

Check out the November Stone World image gallery!

Stone World Magazine

Stone World December 2014

2014 December

Check out Stone World's last issue of the year, which includes a recap of TISE East and Marmomacc.

Table Of Contents Subscribe

Contemporary Stone & Tile Design Magazine

CSTD Fall 2014 cover

2014 Fall

In this issue of Contemporary Stone & Tile Design, we take a look at the latest developments in TPT, with a feature article and you can read more comments from Waldrep on this subject as well as other industry professionals.

Table Of Contents Subscribe


Are you aware of the new stone standard – ANSI/NSC 373 Sustainability Assessment for Natural Dimension Stone?
View Results Poll Archive

The Stone World Store

How to Polish & Restore Marble Flooring

This video will show you step-by-step how to resurface and polish marble flooring from grinding and removing lippage and scratches to achieving a highly reflective polish.

More Products

Stone Industry Education

Stone Industry Education

From marketing and much more!  We provide natural stone professionals with stone knowledge and education they can count on, as well as great networking opportunities. Click here to go to Stone Industry Education.


facebook logo Twitter  YouTubeGoogle+

Stone Guide 2014

2014 Stone World Stone Guide

The directory for Stone, Equipment and Supplies - the single information resource readers turn to.