Houston residents are still picking up the pieces after Hurricane Harvey wreaked havoc on the city. The storm damaged homes and cars and left many people with nowhere to go, including 31 employees of Parkway Place, a faith-based, non-profit senior living community in Houston. To show their appreciation for the employees, residents at the senior living community collected money, clothing and cleaning supplies to give to the team members. The residents feel strongly that this is a way to give thanks for the team’s dedication to the residents during the storm. Many stayed overnight at the community to ensure the safety of residents as well as themselves. In all, the residents raised more than $17,000, and that money was divided evenly between each of the employees.
“The employees are like family, and we know them personally,” said Paul Smith, resident of Parkway Place. “We care about them. When we heard they suffered because of the storm, we knew we needed to give back. This wasn’t a time to turn our backs on them and just say ‘God bless you.’ It’s humbling to see their dedication and how they wanted to protect us during the storm. They showed up each day with smiles on their faces even though deep down we knew they had a lot going on in their personal lives. I know the amount we gave to them isn’t going to replace everything, but I hope it helps them get back on their feet and have a better outlook on life as they recover from the storm.”
One employee affected by the storm is Duane Davis. He’s been the assistant food and hospitality director at Parkway Place for three and a half years and is thankful for what the residents did. The night Harvey hit, Davis woke up with two feet of water in his home. At that point, he went into survival mode. Getting his five foster children to safety was his first concern. He was able to gather what clothes and blankets he could carry, but by the time he got all the items together the water was at three feet. When he opened his front door, the water was at his waist. He carried each child on his back to higher ground at the day care the children attend, which is about a block away. They stayed there as long as they could until the day care started to flood. Since then, the family has been living at a local hotel. Davis says his home is uninhabitable right now and their four cars were destroyed. While his emotions are all over the place, he knows God will find a way.
“It’s been tough, but I have a great support system with my family and coworkers getting me through this,” said Davis. “We haven’t decided if we will tear down the house and rebuild, but we are taking the necessary steps to determine what’s best for our family. Everyone has been very understanding, and I appreciate that more than anything. The support from residents has been overwhelming. It motivates me to get up and come to Parkway Place each day. The residents and staff are amazing and you get a true feeling of a family-oriented organization. I am grateful for what the residents have done for my family. I am proud to be associated with this community.”
“Our staff went above and beyond to ensure the residents’ needs were met during the storm,” said Susan Phelps, interim executive director at Parkway Place. “Many stepped up and filled shifts while others were stuck in their homes. We also had several staff members and their families stay at our community. We wanted to make sure everyone had somewhere to turn. We weren’t surprised when the residents approached us about hosting a fundraiser. They appreciate everything the team does and consider them to be family. The storm brought out the best in everyone, and it was truly inspiring to see.”
Source: Chelsi Smith / Amy Jones, The Point Group