**UPDATE: TIFMAS has requested a stand down order for the second four-man team from Southlake. Although, not being called into service this weekend, the Southlake team and Fire Department stands ready to go whenever and wherever they are needed.
Southlake City Hall has been abuzz with activity this week as donations for Hurricane Harvey evacuees poured in from Southlake residents, businesses and individuals from surrounding cities.
City staff worked non-stop to sort and box every item as they were dropped off. Hundreds of donations were collected including items like toothbrushes and toothpaste, diapers, shampoo, deodorant, hand sanitizer, razors, socks and more.
“The outpouring of support has been unbelievable but also what we’ve come to expect from our extraordinary community. To see the generosity of our Southlake employees and citizens has been an incredibly moving experience,” said City Manager Shana Yelverton. “Not only did the community help employees in gathering donations, but several Southlake businesses assisted with projects essentials, donating and delivering boxes, food for volunteers, and meeting other logistical needs.”
Mayor Laura Hill echoed those sentiments writing on her Facebook page, “Wow!!” You guys are amazing! I’m so proud to be your Mayor.”
Equally touching was watching a sea of Southlake City employees, donned in blue jeans and t-shirts, hustling up and down the stairs carrying box after box of donations or pushing carts filled with items up and down the elevator! Employees were eager to help knowing the families that made it to evacuation centers had arrived in desperate need of these every day personal hygiene products.
At 8:00 a.m. Friday morning about 50 employees began loading up the truck with all of the donated items. There were 1,086 boxes in total. City staff captured a video of all the activity as it was happening that you can watch on the City’s Facebook page.
Thanks to the employees and citizens of Southlake, Hurricane Harvey evacuees won’t have to go without everyday essential items. Southlake residents can feel proud knowing that when the call went out, the community and municipal organization answered in a big way.
The Southlake Fire Department also answered the call for help when a team of firefighters were requested by the Texas Intrastate Fire Mutual Aid System (TIFMAS). The four-man team left Southlake DPS HQ on Sunday, August 27 and is expected to return this Sunday. The Southlake Firefighters assisted in multiple rescues and fighting fires. Team member and Lieutenant Jeremy Blackwell said, “It is humbling to see what people have endured and how far they will have to go to return to normal.” The team worked round the clock serving south Texas communities by assisting in rescue calls and helping to assess the damage. Blackwell says they will try again today to reach areas they weren’t able to get to until the waters began to recede.
Another four-man crew will be heading down to south Texas at 7:00 a.m. this Sunday morning, September 3, to relieve the first team. The Southlake team of firefighters going to south Texas next are: Lieutenant Ricky Davis, Vann Wakefield, Ray Faglie and Josh Baker.
Fire Chief Mike Starr said, “I’m very proud of the teams that are going to support first responders and help the victims of Hurricane Harvey. When the call came in from TIFMAS, there was no hesitation to send them and absolutely no hesitation on their part to go.”
The outpouring of support from Southlake residents, business owners and the City has been tremendous and is what makes this community so special. Thanks to everyone for their compassion, donations and willingness to help others in their time of need.