Associates from a Louisiana market center react rapidly and resourcefully to solve an urgent water crisis in the Houston area in the immediate days after Hurricane Harvey pummels southeast Texas
Deeply saddened by the devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey to their Keller Williams family in Beaumont, Texas, teams from the Lake Charles market center in Louisiana mobilized swiftly to meet their sister city’s dire need for clean drinking water. Amazingly, within only a few hours, they had set up a staging area and had a truck loaded with water at the Louisiana border, waiting for clearance to get into Texas. Unfortunately, it seemed that it might be days before the roadways could be inspected and cleared for travel. The hurricane had dumped unprecedented rainfall, nearly 50 inches, and Beaumont had essentially become an island with no access. However, where most folks would typically see a problem, one Keller Williams associate instead saw an opportunity to find a solution.
Market Center Administrator Michelle LeRouge thought about how her firefighter husband sometimes relied on helicopters to douse hard-to-get-to fires. She imagined a different kind of water drop and started her internet search for helicopter services. Soon she was connected with the global accounts manager at ERA Helicopters, who was willing to support the cause by donating not one, not two, but three helicopters to carry supplies to south Texas. After some organized hustle, 70 cases of water and 10 pounds of Louisiana’s finest boudin were dropped into Beaumont. LeRouge recounts, “I have to admit that I have shed tears of joy for all that ERA Helicopters and our Keller Williams teams have done to help our KW family and make this day such a success!”
As Mike DeLuna, team leader of Keller Williams of Southeast Texas in Beaumont, emphasizes, “We have no power and no water supply. We can’t brush our teeth, we can’t bathe, we can’t even turn the faucet on. This water that is being brought in, and in some cases flown in, is lifesaving. I’ll never take a bottle of water for granted ever again.”
Meanwhile, agents all around the nation have seen the urgent need and rose to meet it. They have posted on social media, collected supplies, donated time and money, offered prayers and showed up to help gut and clean out homes that were destroyed by the relentless floodwaters.
Chuck Roberts, regional director of the Gulf States Region, is touched by the energy and effort he sees his teams giving to respond to the crisis. “There is just nothing to compare to the KW culture. It gives me goosebumps to think about [it]; we have such amazing leadership from the very top of the organization to the leadership that’s the agent. It’s just really hard to wrap my mind around a lot of times.”
Dean David, team leader at Lake Charles, whose own area had previously been devastated by the ravages of hurricanes, anticipated what weary people and families would need. He oversaw several turnaround trips to pick up supplies and brought in a crew to cook lunch for relief workers.
“The coolest part is just being able to help our fellow man. It’s awesome. And you know us Cajuns, we love our Texans!”
Roberts adds, “When it comes to Keller Williams, family is everything. It’s the reason why I took this role. I’m very passionate about it. We experienced a flood last year in Baton Rouge and they came and helped us. We’re just returning the favor. That’s what family does.”
DeLuna is buoyed by the outpouring of concern and help for his community. “Our company is all about perseverance. It’s about culture and it’s about pressing forward. I know that in the few months to come, it will be difficult, but we’re going to make it through.”
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We Need Your Help!
Since Harvey made landfall, thousands of Keller Williams associates have volunteered across the state of Texas, helping families clean out their homes.
The ongoing need to support individuals affected by Hurricane Harvey, and now Hurricane Irma, is a great one.
Join us by contributing to KW Cares’ RED Relief fund. Your donation will be used to provide emergency grants, equipment and the supplies necessary to rebuild the lives of those who in many cases have lost everything.
Written by: Celesta Brown