NAVAL AIR STATION FORT WORTH JOINT RESERVE BASE, Texas --
Active duty Airmen assigned to the 355th Fighter Squadron at Naval Air Station Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base, Texas, volunteered with Samaritan’s Purse, a Christian-relief organization, in repairing homes damaged by Hurricane Harvey, Oct. 23-27 in Victoria, Texas.
Hurricane Harvey, which made landfall as a Category 4 storm Aug. 25, lashed the Texas coastline with 130 mph sustained winds, and torrential rainfall in the days that followed. It went down in U.S. history as one of the costliest storms ever to hit the country. Although the eye of the hurricane missed Victoria, which is located 30 miles off the coast, it still unleashed destructive winds and structural damage throughout the city.
The crew of nine traveled 300-plus miles to Victoria to help citizens repair their living areas by removing debris, tarping roofs and tearing out interior drywall of homes damaged by the storm.
“It was quite a bit of work, but our crew meshed together very quickly,” said Tech. Sgt. Hector Gonzalez, 355 FS Flight Operations Medical Technician. “We actually got a lot of camaraderie time, and a lot of time to go out and meet the people there, as well as people who were prior service.”
All of the efforts of the 355 FS and Samaritan’s Purse helped to save homeowners $675 per person for a grand total of $6,000 in manhours. For Gonzalez, seeing the troubles people in Victoria were going through, whether it was personally or financially, stuck out to him.
“The storm seemed to bring out the worst in what was happening in their lives,” Gonzalez said. “Some of them did feel like they were out of hope, but I believe we provided a little bit of that for them. We were people who came in free will, ready to do what we could to help.”
For the Airmen, part of the job title included being ready for the call to duty at a moment’s notice; however, being able to work together as a team is an aspect that’s not lost in the fast-paced environment.
“I think it shows how much we want to help those we can reach as a unit and as the Carswell team,” said Tech. Sgt. Shelby Griscom, 355 FS Unit Deployment Manager. “There was active duty and reserve guys working side-by-side, just like we do here. We want to help as much as we can, wherever we can.”