- Katey Psencik American-Statesman Staff
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.
2. This gospel singer cheered up evacuees at the Lone Star Convention Center and Expo Center shelter with her beautiful music.
4. Austinites (and Houston natives) Michael and Susan Dell announced Friday that their foundation is launching a Rebuild Texas Fund with a goal of raising $100 million for the long-term recovery of communities affected by Hurricane Harvey.
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.
8. While we’re talking about great Texas businesses -- Whataburger pledged $1.5 million to Harvey relief efforts.
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 Gaines, Texans star JJ Watt, “Supernatural” star Jensen Ackles, Beyonce, and more.
10. Houstonians formed a literal human chain to rescue an elderly flood victim.
11. Bakers trapped due to flooding whipped up dozens of sheets of pan dulce for flood victims.
12. Pizza Hut took delivery super seriously and brought pizzas to flood victims -- via kayak.
13. The Austin restaurant industry and music industry banded together to host fundraisers and special events to help victims of the flooding.
Austin restaurants and bars donating to Hurricane Harvey flood relief
Austin music scene Harvey benefits: Black Joe Lewis, Patty Griffin and more
14. A Spider-Man at a Houston shelter brought joy to countless kids (and grownups) unable to return to their homes.
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.