Jeremy Henry, recently of Lewiston, issued a plea for help on facebook for his hometown of Orange, Texas and Mainers responded generously to his request for a “truck and stuff to fill it” he said this morning at Monument Square, Portland.
Orange is one of the places hit especially hard by hurricane Harvey. Henry who moved to Lewiston just three years ago with his wife and children, has most of his family still living in Orange. His parents Theresa and Larry Henry, in their 70’s, vacated their home because it was flooded by Harvey. They moved into an RV with his sister, her husband and a dog and are living at a gas station in Sulphur, Louisiana. His grandparents are living in a hotel in Sulphur also. “They are all waiting to be told what to do by someone,” Henry said this morning at Monument Square. “They just don’t know who though.”
Henry said that he plans on starting his solo drive home on Monday, Labor Day, and not before. He hopes that by then the waters will have receded sufficiently to get through. He says the trip will take 30 hours and is 1,800 miles long. He knows because he has driven the route in the past several times since moving to Lewiston. Henry hopes to arrive in Orange by mid week. “Orange will be my first stop,” he said.
One of the owners of Aura, a Portland night club, Krista Newman, heard of the need and rented a 26 ft. truck to be filled with: nonperishable food; bottled water; paper goods; batteries and flash lights; first aid kits; pet food; and clothing said Henry. He drove the huge truck to Monument Square this morning at 5:00 am and several hours later people began arriving with donations for the flood victims. Between 10:00 am and 11:00 am, the response was “explosive” Henry said.
Among the many helping to fill the huge truck were Jay Phelps and his daughter, Julia, 10, of Scarborough. “It’s good to see people pulling together to support each other,” said Jay after loading numerous bags of donations on the truck. Included in his donations were clothing and back packs. Julia donated her own stuffed animals to comfort children who need it. “Just imagine what it would be like if your room were blown away,” Julia said her father told her. That motivated her to give up some of her own stuffed animals. (See above right photo.)
Mack Emery, of Boothbay Harbor, drove the distance hoping to arrive at Monument Square in time to make his donation. He just made it with little time to spare. “It’s a great cause and I couldn’t drive to Houston, so I bought $100 worth of dog and cat food and batteries,” said this pet owner. By 1:00 pm., the truck was full even though people were bringing last minute items hoping there would be room to get the items on board the trip to Orange. (See above left photo.)
“Just don’t open the back door once it’s closed until you get to Texas,” cautioned volunteer Jim Mitchell, who had the day off from work as a truck driver for Nestle Co. and helped pack the truck. “The truck is so tightly packed, that everything will fall out the back and onto you,” he told Henry. Henry grinned.