Tomball, Magnolia offer support for evacuees after Harvey

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In the days after Hurricane Harvey’s landfall Aug. 25, widespread flooding displaced numerous residents throughout the Greater Houston area and caused property damage to homes and businesses.

While the Tomball and Magnolia areas sustained major flooding—receiving more than 20 inches of rain in four days—some nearby areas received 40 inches or more of rain in the same time span, according to the Harris County Flood Warning System.

Bruce Hillegeist, Tomball- area resident and president of the Greater Tomball Area Chamber of Commerce, said residents worked together to welcome evacuees.

“Kindness is sometimes lost in the everyday goings-on,” Hillegeist said. “This is when it shines, through tragedies like this.”

On Aug. 27, Tomball Mayor Gretchen Fagan declared a state of disaster for the city.

Tomball-area facilities, including First Baptist Church of Tomball, Lone Star College-Tomball, Graceview Baptist Church and Creekside Park Junior High School, provided shelter for residents. According to a statement from the city, the city’s hotels were also filled during the week of the storms.

Additional local churches and organizations, including Tomball Emergency Assistance Ministries, Tomball Bible Church, Real Life Ministries and Society of Samaritans, organized donation drop-off sites and volunteer cleanup teams as recovery efforts began.

“When something like this happens here, it’s about our community coming together,” Hillegeist said. “Family comes together in a crisis.”

The Magnolia community also provided shelter and supplies to evacuees, offering space at Magnolia’s First Baptist Church, Magnolia High School and Wildwood United Methodist Church at various times during the storm. Montgomery County shelter locations were later consolidated to the Lone Star Convention Center in Conroe.

“Before too long, the cameras will leave your community and the emotion will go down, and then people will forget, but this is going to drag on with us for a long time—months, maybe even years—before it gets back to the way it was,” Hillegeist said.

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Anna Dembowski

Anna joined Community Impact Newspaper as a reporter in May 2016 after graduating with a degree in journalism from Cedarville University in Cedarville, Ohio. In July 2017, she transitioned to editor. Anna covers education, local government, transportation, business, real estate development and nonprofits in the Tomball and Magnolia communities. Prior to CI, Anna served as editor-in-chief of Cedars, interned with the National Journalism Center in Washington, D.C., and spent time writing for the Springfield News-Sun and Xenia Daily Gazette.

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