17 heartwarming stories of Texans coming together to help Harvey victims

12:36 p.m Friday, Sept. 1, 2017 Austin360 Home

It’s been a week since Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Texas and devastated much of the southeastern part of the state, including the Coastal Bend and Texas’ largest metro area of Houston.

But in the midst of destruction, glimmers of hope shone through the floodwaters. Texans banded together to help each other out, the way only Texans truly can. After all, “Tejas” means “friends,” after all.

Here are 17 of the most heartwarming stories of friendship, love and Texan-ness we’ve come across this week. Try not to cry at your desk.

1. Houston’s Jim “Mattress Mack” McInvale opened up his business to storm evacuees. He’s a pillar of the community and now thousands are petitioning for a “Mattress Mack Day” in Houston. 

3. The University of Houston football team spent Wednesday collecting donations and piling them into trucks from the University of Texas, the University of Texas at San Antonio and Texas State University. Head coach Major Applewhite was behind the plan.

On Aug. 31, 2017, The University of Houston football team collected Hurricane Harvey donations at two locations in Austin, TX.

5. Hundreds of Austinites volunteered to help out. About 700 people signed up to provide interpretation services, and the Austin Disaster Relief Network received more than 600 “welcome kits” (with more coming in). 

6. These modern-day heroes banded together to rescue the four-legged victims of the Harvey flooding -- including Texas country singer Miranda Lambert, who not only mobilized her animal nonprofit to help out, but even put boots on the ground to help rescue animals herself. People worked together to rescue dogs from high water, and a father-son team of Cowboys spent a day rescuing livestock from floodwaters.

7. Texas’ favorite grocery store, H-E-B, was able to get help trucks and caravans into impacted areas seemingly before state and federal resources were able to access them. They donated more than $1 million in disaster relief in the forms of free meals, food bank donations and financial commitments. 

9. Celebrities who call Texas home pledged to help out their fellow Texans. This includes sometimes-Austinite Sandra Bullock, as well as “Fixer Upper” stars Chip and Joanna GainesTexans star JJ Watt“Supernatural” star Jensen AcklesBeyonce, and more.

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15. These volunteers plan to deliver water purifiers to the Houston area. Because everybody needs safe drinking water.

16. A surgeon from Dickinson, Texas guided his canoe through waist-high water to perform surgery on a 16-year-old with a life-threatening condition.  He traveled at least a mile to get to the boy, who will now make a full recovery.

 17. And finally, this 5-year-old Houston native in Philadelphia who set up a lemonade stand to raise money for flood victims. I’M NOT CRYING YOU’RE CRYING.

Would you like to help victims of Hurricane Harvey? Here’s a checklist to help you make a welcome kit for the Austin Disaster Relief Network (they need 6,000 of them). Here are some other ways you can help.
COMPLETE COVERAGE LIST: Hurricane Harvey stores from the Austin American-Statesman

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