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The first truck of my “Mr. Kippers’ Flood Relief ” loaded up Wednesday and headed out to South East Texas yesterday. Mom and I supervised.
My Mom, Amanda, is always apprehensive when she heads out because she feels very responsible for the thousands of dollars of precious cargo, in her care, donated by my followers. But she came home last night and although looking like she was in need of rescue herself, she had a big smile on her face. Sometimes I think she’s getting too “long in the tooth” for this, but then I realize she just has big teeth- SHEESH!
I would like to have been there to oversee the situation myself, but someone has to stay here to oversee headquarters and if the truth be known, I’ve had so many surgeries and other issues that Mom worries about my immune system.
You should hear the stories coming out of all the flooded areas of Texas. According to infectious disease centers checking the water, there is all kinds of bacteria in the standing water left by the flooding. Not to mention sewage. Since I refuse to wear my little rubber boots, Mom said I couldn’t go!
According to Mom it was a couple of days of “gifts”. You know, gifts really do come in all shapes and sizes. First, Mr. Earl Ferguson brought his Chinaberry’s truck over so that his crew, Mr Frank and Billy could get it loaded. They loaded us last year, so naturally we consider them part of Mr. Kippers’ Flood Relief! Dad loaded as well as our friend, Veteran Tommy Hollis join us in the loading. Tommy, as I’m sure you’ll remember, helped to unload people’s supplies as they came to Classic Kippers’ Headquarters to donate both this year and last. And then, MR . David Ogwyn appeared carrying the best HOMEMADE CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES, made by his ever so thoughtful, fabulously talented, Chicago Cubs loving wife, Miss Mary. She made them last year too. I truly don’t think Mom et al could make the trip without them. Thank you Miss Mary!
As most rescuers know, networking can be and usually is, the key to success and this emergency effort was no different. One of the reasons I believe that Mr Kippers’ followers give so generously, is that they trust that their donations will unequivocally end up in the paws of those who are truly in need.
Mom already had Beaumont, Vidor, and Orange as the recipients of a truck load of supplies, but between the first wave of Hurricane Harvey and the second wave of flooding, she lost communications with the shelters. Not surprising since the city of Beaumont also shut off the water supply because it had been compromised. Even the hospital in Beaumont had to be evacuated and the NICU babies were airlifted to Shreveport along with other medical patients.
Mom was watching the donations increase two fold, but was anxious – she needed a contact down there and she needed it fast, as time was running out. “Ask and it shall be given…” It just so happened, that Mom’s friend, Miss Tanya of Paws 4 Life, in Shreveport, has an incredible list of contacts. Through that list, Miss Tanya contacted John Getter from Best Friends Animal Society in Houston. She told him that Mom needed contacts for Beaumont, Vidor and/or Orange, Texas. Within a short period of time Miss Tanya had the number of Texas DPS officer, Sgt. Tamela Snider. Sgt Snider told Mom that the place to deliver was the Cowboy Church in Orange, Texas! It is located next to the EOC (Emergency Operations Center) for that area. She kindly gave Mom the directions and said that if Mom would call when she was on the way that she would meet her in Orange. You could almost see a peace come over my Mom.
On September 7th, 2017 as many of you already know, my Kippers’ Flood Relief Team pulled out. Mr. Frank and Billy were in the Chinaberry’s truck (graciously donated by Liz and Earl Ferguson) with Mom and Tommy Hollis in the Classic Kipper Mobile!
Once they were underway, Mom who was driving, handed her cell phone to Tommy and asked him to call the contact for Sergeant Snider. Tommy had an incredulous look on his face and it turned out that he and Sgt. Snider were stationed at Barksdale Air Force base and were deployed at the same time to Kuwait. I will refrain from saying it’s a small world, but you get the drift.
As Team Kippers got closer to Orange they began to see devastation. Piles and piles of sheet rock, flooring, carpet and furniture stacked on the street in front of homes and businesses. We also began to see how high the water had been in that area.
What they did not expect was what they saw at the Cowboy Church. Often, supplies are just dumped off at different places which is what Mom tries to avoid. She knows that people have spent hard earned money on a lot of donations and both the people receiving and the people who donated, deserve that the items are taken care of from the time they arrive with Mom to the time they are in the paws of those in need.
As we approached the church there was a man in a cowboy hat with a clipboard. He wore a 4 H shirt and a smile. Mom told him that they were Kippers’ Flood Relief from Shreveport and he told us where to go first.
The parishioners of that church, many of whom are probably involved in 4H, as well as the 4H club itself where there handling every aspect of the donation process. There is nothing that donors want to see more than an organized situation!
Once inside the staging area, we found Sgt. Tamela Snider waiting for us. I was glad to meet her and she and Tommy were glad to see one another after 13 years. As a military friend told me last night, “Military friendships are long-lasting.”
First Team Kippers dropped our crates off at the “crate drop”, then they circled around by the big tent in the middle where cleaning supplies were unloaded by both Billy, Frank and Tommy, as well as inmates from that county prison, who were helping to unload donations. The church and 4-H ladies had everything under control and in perfect order. Next the cases of water were dropped off at their location.
While Mom was watching Tommy, Frank and Billy unload, she saw a very disheveled woman picking up a bag of dog food. A woman walked over, clipboard in hand, and very kindly with asked, “May I help you?” The disheveled woman replied that she needed food for her dog and water. The lady smiled and said, “Let me get your name, address, how many dogs you have and what your needs are?” The disheveled lady smiled- tears in her eyes. A far cry from some of the horror stories we have read about online concerning the treatment of those in need.
Then our truck went to the location where the pallets of dog food, cat food, and litter would be unloaded. Team Kippers crew was very excited when a man told them that our pallets would be unloaded by a tractor.
- Those are all our pallets
- Soon another woman walked up who had delivered a load of hay. (Not this load)
- Oh yes, this wonderful staging area was feeding every kind of animal under the sun from farm animals to domestic pets. The 4-H /church ladies profusely thanked her for the hay to which she replied that it was her pleasure and then said, “I’m going to wait here for a while to see if I need to deliver anything to people who are not able to get here.” I was told that there were a lot of people with big, high water trucks who came to take food and supplies to people who were housebound with their pets or in need of help with livestock.
For those living in Orange County Texas and it’s environs, you have wonderful neighbors who have organized and worked long hours to make sure that you get what you need in the way of taking care of your animals.
And to those of you across the county, Canada and even Germany, I want you to know that the items and money you gave are most appreciated. You can rest assured knowing that every single item was needed and received by those desperately in need.
Team Kippers saw humanity today or in this case “fur-manity” – actually both. It’s something not seen often enough, but today, at the Cowboy Church of Orange, Texas- humanity was alive and well!
We also know what it’s like to send a check to help, but there’s always that little nagging feeling of whether your donation actually made it to those in need. That’s why my Mom goes with the donations and takes pictures. It is my hope that this blog and these pictures will make your hearts feel good because if there’s one thing we know, Mr. Kippers has the best friends and followers in the whole wide world!
So many dear friends, and people whom we did not even know before last week, have given so much and I do not know which ones would prefer to remain anonymous, so for now, just know that I am humbled by your generosity, blessed by the faith you have in me and grateful that there are still people in this world with heart. Some gave “all they could” others wrote big checks, but in my piggy little eyes, I only saw generosity, love and the beauty of their “just wanting to help”.
Despite the fact that Classic Kippers is supporting the rescue of ALL dogs and cats, no matter their “lineage”, I would like to say a special thank you to two organizations who are very near to my little Bull Terrier heart.
The Rescue Welfare Trust Fund of Bull Terrier Club of America and the
Mini Bull Terrier Club of America who both stepped up to the plate in a big way to support my mission to “pay forward” my good fortune by helping others.
Our mission is not finished. We load next Tuesday and head to South Louisiana on Wednesday.
Please, continued prayers for those devastated by Hurricane Harvey and those in the path of Hurricane Irma.
That is all.
Here are some photos given to us by Sgt. Snider of the county: