The reason we were spared is clear
By County Judge Dennis Simons
To the citizens of Jackson County,
Over the past days since Hurricane Harvey scooted passed us, we’ve heard many times how our county was “blessed”, “lucky”, “fortunate”, “spared” and many other words describing our good fortune compared to the counties east, west and south of us. There truly must have been a reason that we were spared the brunt of the storm. The reason became clear as the days passed. We were to be a nurturing county and help those around us that were less fortunate.
The citizens of Jackson County rose to the occasion in so many ways that I couldn’t begin to list all of the acts of kindness and volunteerism shown during this brief period of time. At the risk of not mentioning so many of these acts of kindness, I would like to point out a few that stand out in my mind.
I would like to thank the Edna Independent School District and their Superintendent, Robert O’Connor, for providing buses and drivers to evacuate those who had no transportation to shelters in Comal County. Those buses and drivers were provided again to bring these folks back to Jackson County after the storm.
First Responders from all over the County, including law enforcement, fire and rescue personnel, and EMS personnel were housed in the Edna ISD gym, which is a FEMA subsidized shelter for staging first responders during storms like Harvey. Our local personnel were sheltered side-by-side with U.S. Army personnel and State Water Rescue personnel. They were all ready to respond to whatever situation might arise. After the storm came ashore to the West of us, the Army and State personnel were dispatched to other areas along the coast where needs were greater.
While the storm was hovering somewhere between Victoria and Goliad, at 3 a.m. some members of the Matagorda County Emergency Operations Team showed up at the Edna gym looking for a place to set up a communications center in the event Bay City was inundated with water, as predicted. Ganado had power, and after a quick call to YK Communications, a phone center was set up in their office conference room.
At the same time, Matagorda County was looking for shelter to house their citizens who had no other place to go. Clinton Tegeler, Mayor of Ganado, and John Hardwick, Jr., superintendent of Ganado ISD, quickly stepped forward and offered to set up a shelter in the Ganado High School gym. Over 100 volunteers showed up to help before the first evacuees arrived!
This started an outpouring of volunteers from all over the county. Many people cooked meals in the school cafeteria, others helped organize donated items and still others comforted those who had been displaced from their homes. When the shelter in Ganado started to clear out, a need for hot meals in Edna arose, due to the lack of power to the City of Edna. The cooks in Ganado continued preparing meals and sent them to the ESD 3 fire house in Edna. More volunteers showed up and helped serve meals, water and ice to residents until the power was restored.
Jackson County dodged a bullet with this storm. You don’t have to look far in any direction to see what could have been. The citizens of Jackson County heard the call from their neighbors and stepped up. We should all be proud of the way we reacted to this event.
Thank you Jackson County, you should be proud of yourselves!