Sometimes Santa is a guy in big red suit and sometimes he takes the form of a body of people all joined together to brighten the lives of others. That was the case this past weekend as folks from King’s Trail Cowboy Church completed its Christmas Project of gathering food, supplies and toys for the citizens of Aransas County.
The Grayson County Office of Emergency Management announced the adoption of Aransas County in September to help the coastal county’s government and residents rebuild after Hurricane Harvey. Aransas County is home to roughly 25,000 residents and the city of Rockport, which was one of the Texas communities hit hardest by the storm. Hurricane Harvey made landfall near Rockport on Aug. 25 as a Category 4 storm and lashed the city with damaging winds and flooding.
Jesse Brown, an elder at the church, said the congregation got together to help the folks hit hard by the hurricanes of 2017 “No. 1, because we are Christians.” Brown said the congregation of around 1,000 people decided to try to provide holiday cheer for the folks of Aransas County.
He said the church worked with the Grayson County Office of Emergency Management to come up with a list of what might be needed and then started collecting. By last weekend, he said, they were ready to make the delivery.
Grayson County Commissioner Bart Lawrence provided the tractor and trailer and the Grayson County Fire Department provided the driver for the delivery. And the people of King’s Trail provided 32 bicycles, two tricycles and pallets of food, including canned meats, Ramon noodles, macaroni and cheese, water and much, much more.
“There were several pallets of bedding, clothing, all of it brand new, nothing used,” Brown said.
Grayson County Emergency Management Director Sarah Somers said the church has members that often come to community emergency management meetings and who were eager to help with the county’s desire to help Aransas County.
Somers said in September Grayson County agencies, such as the OEM, the health department and Grayson County Sheriff’s Office, would offer the first assistance and begin assessing government and infrastructural needs with Aransas County’s comparable departments and its long term recovery committee.
The sheriff’s office previously sent a team to Aransas County to help facilitate court proceedings while the county’s courthouse was closed due to storm damage.
With widespread damage across Southeast Texas, Somers previously said it will take years for Aransas County to fully recover. She explained that such a time frame would likely result in waning public interest and that attention to Harvey-affected communities was already split by those hit by Hurricanes Irma and Maria.
Despite the initial challenges, Somers said she felt confident that the partnership between the two counties would be mutually beneficial and forge a positive relationship between two distant neighbors.
“We’re hoping some of that knowledge and education and on-the-job training we’ve gotten can help some of our fellow Texans and also put us back in a position where we’re all knowledgeable about long-term recovery, should we ever need it,” Somers said.
Somers’ recent post on social media about the donation said new coats and gift cards were also included in the items sent to Aransas County. She said Tim Welch, of the North Texas Regional Airport — Perrin Field fire station and his wife drove the items down to Aransas County.