Steamboat Springs man helping flood victims near Houston
John Centner doesn’t know if he could have escaped the Houston area and made it back to his home in Steamboat Springs immediately after Tropical Storm Harvey hit.
But he didn’t try to leave.
“These people needed our help,” Centner said Wednesday from the Houston area, as he continued to run supplies and clothing to those affected by catastrophic floods. “It’s as simple as that.”
As he spoke about what it’s been like to help out in Kingwood in recent days, Centner watched a Blackhawk helicopter hover nearby performing a rescue mission.
The rain had finally stopped in southeast Texas, but there was much work to be done.
“We’ll be down here for as long as it takes,” Centner said.
Centner, former general manager of Steamboat Motors, was in the Houston area on a work trip when the flooding from Harvey started.
After he helped employees of the car dealerships he was working at get the support they needed, Centner turned his attention to others in need.
On Wednesday morning, he delivered tube socks and underwear to a fire station so the first responders would have clean clothes when they returned from their work.
“A good percentage of those first responders’ homes are underwater,” Centner said.
The day before, Centner helped get supplies to shelters.
Centner said the flooding was still significant Wednesday in places close to rivers and other waterways.
“Evacuations are still going on in a big way,” he said. “It’s unlike anything I’ve ever seen in my life.”
Centner said he was impressed by the resiliency in the area.
“We haven’t seen anything other than a populace willing to help their neighbors,” he said, “even at their own risk. It’s crazy. It’s actually quite emotional to watch.”
Meanwhile, more than 1,000 miles away from the devastation, Steamboat residents have been calling city hall asking how they can help flood victims.
City Manager Gary Suiter said he made inquiries to learn how residents can help.
“They are basically saying, ‘Send cash,’” Suiter said Tuesday. “They need cash right now.”
Suiter has been recommending residents go to the FEMA website to make donations.
Suiter also left the door open to sending a city employee to the area in the future to help with recovery efforts.
“Our hearts and well wishes go out to the folks going through that catastrophe,” Suiter said.
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