Harvey continues to awaken our souls
Rockport-Fulton going strong after two years post Hurricane Harvey
(ROCKPORT and FULTON, TX) — Even after dealing with the devastation and heartbreak associated with Hurricane Harvey, residents of Rockport-Fulton and Aransas County are optimistically moving forward as they observe the second anniversary of Hurricane Harvey.
Words of awe, gladness, kindness, humbleness, along with prayers and gratitude come to minds of many as the community continues to rise through the recovery. Emergency Operations Center elected officials and leadership team have these words to say at this two-year mark:
Judge Burt Mills, Aransas County Judge
Aransas County has come a long way since that dreadful day of Hurricane Harvey's direct hit August 25, 2017. Through your help and the help from so many others throughout the nation, we have been able to get back on our feet. It truly warms my heart to think about all the help and support we have been given and for that we are all grateful beyond measure. We have been told by state officials and emergency management leaders, Aransas County is leaps and bounds ahead of the curve in almost every area of the recovery process. We are very proud of that. With that being said, if there is anyone still needing help, we want you to come forward right now so we can make every effort to get the assistance needed. There is a silver lining we are beginning to see. We are working together with the City of Rockport on the rebuild of the Courthouse into a combined project at Live Oak and Magnolia Street. We will be rebuilding the Aquarium at Rockport Harbor, seven hangers and a new Utility Barn at the Aransas County Airport and 90 percent of the runways will be switched to LED lighting creating great savings for the years to come. Our venue projects such as the History Center, kayak launch areas, birding sites and trails are all back on course and ready for you and our visitors. We thank the Navigation District for repairing our marinas and harbors, new bait stands at each of the harbors, for working together to remodel the Bay Education Center and for new pavilions at our beach along with replenishing the sand and lots of new cabanas among many other things. We are extremely proud of all of you and wish everyone the best as we have come so far with just two years into our recovery.
Mayor Pat Rios, City of Rockport
The journey over the past two years has been a mix of emotions – sadness and trepidation. We are grateful for the many individuals, government agencies, organizations, volunteers and foundations that have stepped up in our hour of need and through the recovery process. Having not been through this before, we were fortunate to have experienced hands working on our behalf and also touched by the generous outpouring of support - both physical and financial.
We could never have made it this far without the inspiration, dedication and determination of our residents and local churches and businesses. The fortitude and resolve they have demonstrated laid the groundwork for rebuilding our community and living up to the “Rockport Strong” moniker.
Less than a year after the hurricane, our businesses were re-opening. Memorial Park was made ready for Little League and is undergoing an incredible transformation and the wildlife that graced our shores has returned in abundance. Now we look forward to the rebuilding of the Key Allegro Bridge, the completion of a new competition gym, the high school, a first class Arts and Performing Arts Center, and a cooperative venue between the City and County for the construction of a one-stop government complex.
It hasn’t been easy but our community has pulled together to achieve the extraordinary. My thanks to everyone for their help in rebuilding an even better Rockport.
Mayor Jimmy Kendrick, Town of Fulton
I have been a witness to so much the last two years, it is hard for me to put into words my appreciation. Fulton is so pleased to have its Convention Center under construction along with the adjoining land given to the Town of Fulton by a private donor. The Fulton pier will begin construction this month, and Fulton will be home to the largest hotel in Aransas County in the Hampton Inn with 91 rooms opening in the fall. There have been so many meetings this past two years. I never knew there could be so many meetings but we worked hard to make every gathering count and be productive. We are grateful to everyone who rolled up their sleeves, put on their gloves, and helped their fellow man. My home was ravaged by the storm and I am just now getting back to normal.
From the bottom of my heart, I extend my gratitude to everyone for their support. With your continued support, we can make it through. Thanks again everyone!
Pastor Scott Jones, First Baptist Church of Rockport
First Baptist Church of Rockport and Hands of Hope are proud to be able to serve in the ongoing recovery/rebuild efforts in Aransas County. We are encouraged by the progress of the government infrastructure and the local businesses. We are committed to helping all the private citizens we can because we believe each family, each person, deserves to have their own recovery story. Rockport Hands of Hope will dedicate its new office building on August 24, at 2:00 p.m. The building is located on the Live Oak side of the FBC Rockport property. All are welcome to see how we are committing to the long-term recovery of Aransas County and the Coastal Bend.
Malcolm Dieckow, Chairman Aransas County Navigation District
The Navigation District over the time since hurricane Harvey made landfall has been busy trying to rebuild or replace infrastructure vital to our local economy. That would include getting the harbors back in operation Rockport, Fulton and Cove Harbors. Little bay and the Rockport Beach the focal point for tourism in our community were especially hard hit, now repaired and put back into full operation with replenished sand, pavilions and cabanas. Fishing and boating being an important activity here in Rockport/Fulton the Bait Stands and Boat Ramps were a high priority if visitors were to return and bring needed customers to local businesses. We are happy to report these achievements in our recovery process but there is still plenty to do moving forward with the large breakwaters and other marine structures vital to shoreline protection.
Superintendent of Schools, Joey Patek, Aransas County ISD
They say it takes a village to raise a child. Many people in our community represent part of the village for almost 3,000 students. It would have been easy to get lost in the overwhelming aftermath of Harvey and forget we are part of a much bigger picture in the lives of kids. This community rallied around our school district and made it possible for us to overcome obstacle after obstacle. Enabling us to open our campuses in October 2017. In addition to the support for our students, the community also supported our staff. I know we get tired of references to the storm, but Harvey packed a punch two years ago, and we have all been in a fight to recover since that day in August. The community rallied and has proven its resilience… The recovery has been hard, emotionally taxing work. Socially and emotionally, we are making strides to take care of the whole child and provide a safe place for them to learn. The community realized without addressing these needs, it is difficult to tap in to academic needs. The diamond in the rough is the new, updated and improved facilities for our students and for generations of kids to come. We have an updated auditorium and a state of the art competition gym in the works as I am writing this. Only with the support of the community and community leaders are we able to say with pride, that the comeback is stronger than the setback. We will NOT let the setbacks slow our progress. We will celebrate the strengths, reassess, and adjust where there are weaknesses. We have shown in the past two years that we have much to offer our students... even in the face of great adversity. Our recovery is not yet complete. We must use all of our resources in one another to be the strongest village we can be.
The two-year anniversary is not a time to celebrate but a time to be grateful and joyous for the many things that have come our way. The weekend will mostly have a reflective focus as local church pastors will touch on a heartwarming message of gratefulness but at the same time field a call to action to help those still in need. Hands of Hope is the non-profit organization which remains steady in providing volunteers and assistance for those in need of fixing their homes. The Long Term Recovery Team remains in place giving further assistance whether it be mental health support to housing guidance.
Other events going on throughout the weekend:
Volunteer at Camp Care Day
With 104 acres and 32 different buildings and structures, Camp Aranzazu could use your help. “Camp Care Day” will take place on Saturday, August 24 from 8 a.m. Volunteers will help with light-duty maintenance and landscaping projects. The camp will supply lunch. If you would like to volunteer or have questions, please email Bianca Hernandez at email@example.com. Thank you for your support of Camp Aranzazu and the children and adults with special needs and chronic illnesses whom we serve.
Harvey Encore Block Party
August 24- 11 am to 10 pm in Downtown Rockport. We're kicking off the day with a 5k fun run, and 1.5-mile walk at 8 am. At 11 am come out and check out vendors, food trucks, non-profits, and children's activities. Then come listen to the band "Viral Rock" starting at 6 pm and playing until 10 pm. We're encouraging everyone to bring a chair to enjoy the music. Rockport Little Theatre and the Rockport Cultural Arts District are hosting a beer and wine tent as well all day. For more information, please visit www.RockportCulturalArtsDistrict.com and click on "events."
First Responders Breakfast
St. Peter Episcopal Church will offer a breakfast celebrating our "first responders" on Saturday, Aug. 24. We will have a "come and go", eat-on-site, or carryout option from 7:30 - 10:30 a.m. The church is located at 555 Enterprise Blvd. in Rockport and will be remembering the 2nd anniversary of Harvey on Sunday morning at both services.
Harvey Anniversary Tree Planting Ceremony
August 25- 10 am at Memorial Park located at 1601 FM 2165 (Pearl St). Join City of Rockport Officials, Arbor Day Foundation and the Texas Forest Service representatives for a Harvey Anniversary Tree Planting Ceremony at Memorial Park on Sunday, August 25 at 10 a.m. Please visit www.cityofrockport.com or call 361-727-2158for more details.
Hands of Hope new Building Open House
Open House for Hands of Hope in its new building; volunteers and community invited August 24th from 1:00pm to 4:00pm with the building dedication at 2:00 pm located at First Baptist Church 1515 N. Live Oak Rockport, Texas. This will be a “working” dedication and will be providing intakes in addition to Catholic Charities and Habitat for Humanity.
Hurricane Harvey Agency Update
FEMA, TDEM, General Land Office and other community leaders will provide agency updates over the past two years since Hurricane Harvey hit. The update will take place at the Public Safety Center Monday August 26 at 11am 714 E Concho, Rockport, Texas.
Assistance for those still needing help is available on Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Aquarium Education Center at Rockport Harbor. Those with expenses on rebuilding, contact the (GLO) Homeowner Reimbursement Program (HRP) at 1-844-893-8937. For those applying for Homeowner Assistance Program (HAP), contact the 512-992-0634 or 844-893-8937.
For more information, visit Rockport-Fulton.org or call 1-800-242-0071 or 361-729-6445.
For Aransas County Long Term Recovery visit our website at www.aransascounty.org/harvey or the hotline @ 361-790-9496