Fentress County Steps Up to Assist Texas Victims of Hurricane Harvey

Fentress County General Sessions Judge Todd Burnett, center right, is shown being welcomed in Vidar, Texas as “Team Fentress” arrived with supplies for the flood-ravaged town.

EDITOR’S NOTE:  It seems that whenever there is a real need, the people of Fentress County step up to help.  Last week, when Hurricane Harvey ravaged the Houston, Texas area, a group of local citizens organized a relief effort that can only be described as “amazing.”

Fentress County Executive Mike Cross, who was part of this effort, gives details of the effort in the following news release:

Where to begin?

Let’s start with County Attorney Leslie Ledbetter who also has a Nursing Degree and a current multi-state Nursing License.

Leslie attended college in Houston, Texas, lived there for almost 10 years, AND it was the place of birth for her first three children. Leslie still stays in touch with the many friends she made in Houston, going back to visit annually. That sets the stage.

When Hurricane Harvey hit Houston and surrounding areas, Leslie ask Todd Burnett and me if we would help send aid to those in desperate need. We were immediately on board. I won’t bore you with the setbacks, roadblocks, disappointments and difficulties involved.  Instead, we’ll focus on what happened and who stepped up and the “Rest of the Story” as Paul Harvey would have said.

We asked for water. With Edgar Parker and Parker Charcoal, Paul Horst and Horst Brothers Construction, the FCECEF, Swafford’s and Sons and Compassion Ministries stepping forward, we had fourteen pallets of water.  That’s almost 1200 cases.

From Dr. Doug Smith and Hall’s Pharmacy, we had over $10,000.00 worth of medicine. In addition, from the generosity of so many around Fentress County and elsewhere, we had over 20 pallets of other supplies including Food, Insecticides, Diapers and Baby Formula, Toiletries, Flashlights and Batteries, Fuel and much more.

Not being very creative, but proud of the massive outpouring and generosity, we launched “Team Fentress” on the world.

Our first Armada included Todd and Tracey Burnett pulling a 14 foot box trailer, followed by Leslie and Randall Ledbetter with a 24 foot box trailer, followed by VSO Jeff Tinch and Michael Casada with a ton truck carrying diesel fuel and other supplies. Through Leslie’s local connections, our team headed to Vidor, Texas, a small town like our own that had been completely ignored by the Red Cross and other agencies. With many houses under water, almost two hundred people in shelters, no electricity and no help, Team Fentress would be the only help that this town would receive. Needless to say, we were welcomed with open arms and openly shed tears.

Following close behind was trucker David LeClair with his 40 foot flatbed fully loaded, and J.P. Reagan pulling a motor home donated by Travis and Kelly Hall. It just so happens that one family had completely lost their home and this motor home would give them a place to stay. It seems that whatever we had filled a specific need.

Read the rest of the story in this weeks Fentress Courier.