Wednesday, August 30 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews
Feature image: Soldiers with the Texas Army National Guard move through flooded Houston streets as floodwaters from Hurricane Harvey continue to rise. | Wikipedia
The Broadview Fire Department will be taking donations for Hurricane Harvey victims from now until Friday, and perhaps later, according to village officials.
Broadview Fire Chief Tracy Kenny said that they’re taking water, granola bars and dog food at their facility, 2400 S. 25th Ave., from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. until Thursday. On Friday, a truck provided by Broadview-based National Van Lines will depart for Texas with the supplies at around 10 a.m., Kenny said.
“I’d been waiting for the state deployment, because we usually go with the 17 departments in our division,” Kenny said. “We have a task force that ends up going as a convoy to disaster areas. But as we were waiting, the mayor said, ‘We have to do something.'”
Broadview Mayor Katrina Thompson said that she felt that the village could do something on its own to lend a hand.
“I didn’t want us to wait for the state to call a deployment over our public safety department,” Thompson said. “I felt that we can start with our own efforts. Why wait? We’ve seen this on the news. It’s bad. I’d rather be proactive than reactive.”
The sense of urgency among some Broadview residents who may have loved ones or fellow community members in Texas is visceral.
Kenny said that the daughter of Broadview’s former fire chief, Thomas Gaertner, was trapped in a building for nearly two days.
“She was walking in water up to her shoulders to get to the hospital’s dry floor,” Kenny said. “She had just moved to Texas.”
Thompson said that her daughter attends Prairie View A&M University in Prairie View, Texas.
“They experienced some flooding but not like Houston,” Thompson said. “It’s something to see on the news. It brings back Hurricane Katrina all over again.”
Thompson said that Houston’s trouble dealing with Hurricane Harvey makes her think about how prepared her own municipality might be if a similar weather event happened in the Chicago area.
“A couple of years ago, we had flooding in Proviso Township and the creek rose in Broadview,” she said. “It wasn’t the magnitude of Houston, but it put us on alert. Broadview has a 50-50 plan, where people can get shutoff valves installed in their basements. The village offsets half the cost of the valve.
“But the question is how do we engage people who can’t afford that,” the mayor added. “It’s always a work in progress. So, we’re always asking, ‘How can we do more and how can we help our neighbors?'”
Thompson said that as long as people are willing to donate water and other supplies, the village will accept them. She said that National Van Lines is transporting water but that she’s working on reaching out to other transportation companies in the very likely case that more vans and trucks are needed.
Hurricane Harvey made landfall on the coast of Texas on Aug. 26, dumping over 40 inches of rain in some areas of southeastern Texas. Already, USA Today reported that the tropical cyclone “could be the costliest natural disaster in U.S. history with a potential price tag of $160 billion, according to a preliminary estimate from private weather firm AccuWeather.”
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