To Our First Responders :: A Love Letter from Houston

To Our First Responders of Houston,

It’s been almost two weeks since Hurricane Harvey began wreaking havoc on our precious city. There have been so many stories of devastation, incredible loss, and even death. Thousands and thousands of homes decimated. Hundreds of thousands displaced. But what has buoyed our spirits, and quite frankly the rest of the nation’s morale, are the stories of YOU. Of how you so selflessly dropped everything to come assist us in our most desperate time of need. I’m fairly sure “thank you” will never be enough. But we sure can try. WE SEE YOU and WE THANK YOU.

To the Police Officers / Firemen / EMT’s ::

You are trained to run into disaster when everyone runs away. I can’t imagine the feelings that must have been going through your minds as you were dispatched out into these horrific situations. Maybe feeling helpless because there were so many in need of rescue and in need of medical assistance. Quite possibly, worried about your own families and house. Yet, you ran anyway and spent night upon night upon night with no relief doing your job. But not just a job, a calling. WE SEE YOU and WE THANK YOU.

To the Emergency Dispatchers ::

I’m trying to imagine what it would be like on the other end of that call. “Please help me, I’m on the roof.” “Please, I have 3 kids and the water is coming.” Call, after call, after call. Yet, you stayed calm, cool, and collected, and did your best to get the rescuers to those areas. I would have panicked. You are trained not to. Bless you. WE SEE YOU and WE THANK YOU.

To the Doctors / Nurses / Hospital / Medical Staff ::

Many of you were told to pack for a handful of days to spend the night in your respective facilities. You left your families behind to care for the onslaught of patients. You subsisted on the food you brought with you or meager supplies from the vending machines. And you did it, and continue to do it, with such compassion and love for your city. Cancer doesn’t stop during hurricanes. Surgeries do not not stop during hurricanes. And you carried on as the valiant healthcare workers you are. WE SEE YOU and WE THANK YOU.

To the National Guard / Texas Guard / Coast Guard ::

You came. And you came in droves. I never thought I would have to show my children what your vehicles and choppers look like on our very streets and in our airspace. But I’m so glad that I could point to the sky, and say, “there are the helpers.” They are now enamored with you. We hope that our people have treated you well while in our great city and state of Texas. Seeing your live rescues have been both breathtaking and tragic, and yet joyous too. WE SEE YOU and WE THANK YOU.

To Our City Officials ::

I cannot possibly imagine a more stressful job than yours during times like this. Yes, it’s a job, but this is your city. To all of our collective community mayors, elected officials, judges, and more, your cool heads prevailed and you have done your best to keep our city responsibly informed, and to get it up and running again as soon as humanly possible. And we cannot possibly leave out Jeff Lindner, with the Harris County Flood District. His buttoned up blue shirt and straight talk was a comfort and welcoming site across all areas of Houston. So much so that we raised over $15K for him to take a much deserved vacation. Alas, he’s a government employee so he cannot accept the money, but I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t have anyway. You’re MY boy, BLUE! WE SEE and WE THANK YOU.

To the News Reporters and Meteorologists ::

Y’all. I know the news can sometimes get a bad rap for “hype” and “ratings” or whatever you want to call it. But what I saw on the local news this go around were very real people who were doing their best to share as much information as efficiently and with as much integrity as possible. This is THEIR city, too. And they cared. From the reporters who literally gave us a bird’s eye view to real time rescues and even used their own boats for rescue, to the meteorologists who kept us updated with the spread of the storm, tornado warnings, flash floods, and more your gift is that of spreading information to those who so desperately needed it. WE SEE YOU and WE THANK YOU.

To the Cajun Navy and Those with Boats ::

You saw a need. You packed up your boat, supplies, called up your fellow brothers, and hopped on I-10 and I-45 coming from all directions of this great nation with one mission :: to rescue as many as possible. I will never forget a picture that is emblazoned in my mind of the acclaimed Cajun Navy making their way in a convoy direct towards Houston. Regular, ordinary folks who saw a need they could fill. You came. You rescued thousands of people who otherwise were without assistance because of the sheer volume of this disaster. You launched boats from driveways, highways, and roadways without thinking of yourselves. Only of your fellow Americans. WE SEE YOU and WE THANK YOU.

To Our Local Celebrities ::

I mean. Can we really leave JJ Watt off this list? At last count {and it continues to grow}, his YouCaring fund was almost at THIRTY MILLION DOLLARS. This guy was beloved before Harvey, but he is immortalized post Harvey. Not for his sacks {though impressive} but because he loves big. For Mattress Mack, who opened up all of his Gallery Furniture warehouses to the displaced, allowing them a cool place to lay their heads and setting aside profit for “service over self.” Yes. This man is a Houston icon, and it’s doubtful I’ll buy furniture anywhere else but there. WE SEE YOU and WE THANK YOU. {Especially you, JJ. Just sayin’ if a Houston mama can catch my drift.}

To All the Neighbors ::

Never have I seen neighbors rally as they have during this epic event. Many of you created group texts, messaging throughout those endless nights of warnings. Checking on each other. Welcoming in people, who may have once been strangers, into your home to escape the floods. Hosting impromptu block parties to gather donations and feed those in need. And once the waters receded, you were there. Pulling out sheetrock, carrying couches to the curbs, passing out food, handing out clothing for those who just escaped with the bare necessities. And you are still in this fight. WE SEE YOU and WE THANK YOU.

To Our School Systems and Religious Institutions ::

In a matter of hours, you somehow flung your doors open for the displaced in our city. Schools that once hosted basketball games welcomed in thousands of people to their cafeterias and gyms. Volunteers showed up in droves to offer hugs, a warm blanket, a meal, and a smile. Our city’s massively diverse religious centers went into overdrive to help at such a time as this. You sacrificed so much for the greater good. WE SEE YOU and WE THANK YOU. 

To the Houston Grocery Stores and Restaurants ::

I have no idea how you did it, but within just a couple of days, you were getting shipments to help feed our people. H-E-B most notably, but not to be ignored were Kroger, Aldi, Whole Foods, and more. You had limited employees and yet, you still got some necessities on the shelves and calmed the chaos. Our restaurants re-opened, some opening first JUST to serve first responders. Many gave free meals to the first responders or delivered them straight to their temporary housing, often in parking lots or shelters. You operated off of limited menus and offered us a much needed reprieve from all the cooking. WE SEE YOU and WE THANK YOU.

To the Moms ::

You have quieted the storm as best you could. You have comforted your children, you have kept meals on the table, and you have tried to secure normalcy as much as possible for your little ones. And beyond that, you have come together, creating Facebook groups for support, calls for volunteers, manning those battle stations if you will, and loving the people in your area and beyond. Our cups runneth over to see YOU, the very group we exist for, IN ACTION. WE SEE YOU and WE THANK YOU.

What I have discovered during this enormous tragedy is that “first responders” don’t always wear badges or uniforms. {Of course, not discounting those who do!} But the definition goes even beyond that to our “ordinary” Houstonians who were compelled into action, to our friends and family watching from a distance to offer tangible and monetary assistance, and our fellow Americans who leapt into action. We won’t ever forget these dark days. But we will also never forget those who HELPED us get through them. Light is coming because of you, of that much I’m sure. 

All our love, 

Houston Moms Blog

Writer’s Note :: We would be honored if you would share this with any “first responder” that you know as a very heartfelt note of our sincerest thanks for going above and beyond the call of duty during these harrowing days. Houston is a better place because of them. And we will RISE HIGHER because of their spirit.

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Meagan Clanahan
Meagan is a Dallas native who has lived in the Katy area for over a decade. She kicked a soccer ball all the way to Louisiana to attend college at her family’s alma mater of LSU, where she promptly fell in love with a Texas Aggie in Baton Rouge for an internship. After swimming back to Texas following Hurricane Katrina, Matt and Meagan fell in love with the Houston area and now couldn’t imagine living anywhere else. Following several years of infertility, their miracle twins Ryan and Quinn were born in June of 2010. She believes there is nothing better than a chilled glass of Pinot Grigio, a large Sonic Diet Coke, sushi take-out, Girls Nights Out, and a mindless book to curl up with. Besides playing chauffeur and catering to the whims of her children, Meagan also is the Co-Owner of Houston Moms Blog. You can keep up with Meagan at The Clanahan Fam and on Instagram @meaganclanahan!



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