The destruction and devastation of Hurricane Harvey will be imprinted in our memories forever. There wasn’t a radio station, news channel, or social media conversation that didn’t make mention of Harvey and the relief efforts. Wind gusts from Harvey near its landfall point topped 100 mph in many locations, leading to widespread destruction of homes, buildings, and entire communities far beyond Houston proper.
One evening, Senior Superintendent Ray O’Connor was watching the news coverage at home when something struck him – he wanted to help, but wasn’t quite sure how. Serendipitously, the very next day, Ray’s neighbor, Leroy Steele, called and asked if he could borrow Ray’s trailer; this was Ray’s opportunity to help. Rather than simply lending Leroy his trailer, Ray volunteered himself and set out on the 18-hour drive to Cleveland, Texas, a suburb 41 miles northeast of Houston.
Like many of the smaller surrounding suburbs, Cleveland was in dire need of aid, which was primarily funneled directly to Houston. Ray and his group brought clothing, hygiene supplies, food, and water to the local Fire Department and Red Cross Centers. Beyond the donations, in just two short days, the group helped three families clean out their homes to help them start rebuilding their lives. Although, heirlooms and treasured memories were destroyed and lost, hope was restored for these families with the kindness of Ray and the rest of his group.
In support of Ray’s initiative, Jokake sponsored the travel expenses and provided the group with an additional trailer, allowing them to pack in additional supplies. It is such selfless, compassionate acts such as these that embody the culture of Jokake, making us a group that not only builds buildings but builds and shapes communities both near and far.