In late August, southern Texas was pelted with heavy rains, storm surges and high winds, which devastated property in much of the area. Stories are still surfacing of the damage wreaked by Hurricane Harvey, and many experts estimate it will take at least a year for the area to return to normal. Gordon and Carolyn Ricossa and their employees of the Mr. Transmission & Milex Complete Auto Care in Beaumont, TX, found themselves in the thick of the storm with very little in the way of preparation. When Hurricane Harvey first hit the area, Gordon sent all the technicians home to wait it out in safety. That would be the last time they would be able to reach the store for 10 days.
The Beaumont store was fortunate to avoid flooding, but all of the roads leading to the shop were closed due to high water for more than week. Once Gordon, Carolyn and their technicians could reach the shop, they had to get straight to work, and were only able to use small generators to charge the phones and computers (no lights, air supply, or lifts) for two weeks while the power was out in their area.
The team had had a long list of vehicles to work on prior to the storm, but almost immediately after reopening, people began visiting the shop with water-damaged vehicles that they desperately needed to get running again. Gordon and his team of technicians prioritized these vehicles, because they knew what people in these situations were already going through, and wanted to help them. In many cases, these water-damaged cars were a family’s only mode of transportation. Gordon said giving back in this way has been an important part of helping his community recover.
Gordon and Carolyn know that they were very fortunate. Their shop was spared the worst destruction, and they are now in a position to help others get back on their feet. Going forward, the Ricossas plan to continue supporting relief and recovery efforts. The couple has so far been helping at the church evacuee center by cooking meals and donating clothes and supplied to the church distribution center. They are also helping two of their technicians whose houses experienced flood damage by assisting them with clothes, food, and time off to recover what items are salvageable.
Gordon said the best way to assist others affected by the hurricane is through monetary donations. All of the money Donated to local churches and organizations involved in the recovery process will go directly to the people affected by the hurricane. “If people want to help, I would recommend finding local churches and donating money to them,” said Gordon. “The churches in our area are doing a lot of work in housing people, feeding people and helping families get back in their homes. They’re in the area helping people who have lost everything.”
Hurricane Harvey delivered destruction to parts of Texas, but the strength and perseverance Gordon and Carolyn have seen in their community have assured them that the community will get through this difficult time.