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Chasing the Storm: Hurricane Harvey Relief in Houston

Posted: Friday, September 29, 2017

If I were to list off seemingly random numbers, stats or percentages without context they wouldn’t mean much to the average reader. Numbers like 130, 12, 2,500, 82 wouldn’t impact someone one way or another. Something that will cause people to respond is context, so let me put those numbers into context. The first number, 130 was the miles per hour the wind was blowing in Houston during hurricane Harvey, 12 is the number of years it’s been in the United States since we have seen a hurricane this destructive, 2,500 was the number of distress calls that went out during the hurricane, and 82 is the (current) recorded number of deaths. It was the meaning behind those numbers that caught my attention and called me into action. 

My name is Liza, and I am currently working at Orchid Orthopedic Solutions in the Marketing department. Orchid’s purpose is to provide an opportunity for people to live a better life, something that everyone in the company stands by and is passionate about. So when I mentioned wanting to serve in Houston I received nothing but encouragement. Orchid has a culture unique to any other organization I have experienced. When it comes to employees’ passion for their work, they whole heartedly believe in the “why” behind what makes their job important. Orchid employees come to work every day knowing what they are doing is making a positive influence in someone else’s life. 

During my time in Houston I was humbled as we drove through the devastation. Homes that were once safe haven for families now lay in piles of rubble on the side of the road. Homes with nothing but supportive beams remaining were the new normal. It was a sight none of the photos could do justice. South Baptist Church, the organization I volunteered with, had been on the front lines of demolition and clean process up for weeks prior to my arrival. 

I had the opportunity to speak with several individuals who had lost everything in hurricane Harvey. I was able to hear multiple stories of how the hurricane destroyed family’s homes, precious belongings and cherished memories. “You never think it’s going to be you,” was a phrase that became all too common. Although, through the pain and loss that occurred in the neighborhood I was in, there seemed to be a strong sense of community and selflessness between people. 
  
While there were countless stories of family’s lives being knocked upside down during my time in Houston, there was almost always a subsequent story on how a neighbor, loved one or a random stranger stood in the gap to help fill the need. We all know that bad things will happen in life. Hurricane Harvey wasn’t the last hurricane we will see, there will be more confusing times where life seems to be turned upside-down. Life isn’t perfect, we all know that. 

None of us can control something like hurricanes, but what we can do is choose how we respond. Everyone has their own story, bad things are happening all around the world affecting everyone differently. Some get televised on national news, while others stay behind the scenes. One of my biggest take aways from my trip was that I am able to make a positive impact on people and situations all around me. The power in starting a meaningful conversation or asking someone if they need help can impact an individual’s life more than we might see. 

That is one of the reasons why I feel so thankful to be working at Orchid. I know that I am a part of a community of people who are all striving to help people live a better life, which is invaluable. It was the meaning behind the numbers 130, 12, 2,500, 82 that took me to Huston, TX. I went so those “numbers” didn’t have to stand alone. I am continuing to pray for those affected by the hurricane and constantly reminding myself to look around to see how I can be a positive influence in the community I live. 

     


By Liza Braatz, Marketing Assistant



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