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  HURRICANE HARVEY UNITES FFA MEMBERS NATION-WIDE
 
By: Shannon O'Quinn, Texas FFA News Staff
December 15, 2017

 
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On August 25, 2017, Hurricane Harvey made landfall for the first time in the state of Texas, just north of Corpus Christi. Before it was finished, the storm dropped 21 trillion gallons of rainfall on south east Texas and Louisiana.

FFA members and chapters across the state were greatly impacted by the perils of the event. Towns in East Texas received some of the worst damage and flooding. 

“Harvey really did a number on kids in our chapter,” said Sam Neuman, East Chambers FFA member and Ricebelt District President. “Our chapter president had to swim all of her pigs out of the barn and into trailers. If she would have waited, they would have drowned.”

East Chambers FFA had members confronted with the challenges of saving their livestock while also helping the community. Students were faced with moving a herd of cattle into a small show barn, just to ensure they stayed dry. Members also braved the storm to take the chapter cattle trailers to a shelter at the school cafeteria to help house refugee’s dogs and pets.



Upon hearing about the devastation in Texas, chapters around the country felt compelled to help. Taylor Haley, the Riverton FFA advisor in Riverton, Wyoming, said her students were amazed at the state of some people’s lives after the storm.

“My officer team and I sat down and talked about making a small drive to help Texas FFA,” said Haley. “When my administration caught wind of what we were going to do, they suggested letting the other schools in the district help.”

Soon after the donation drive began, the entire Riverton school district was involved. After gathering supplies, the chapter packed a donated eighteen-wheeler and drove 24,000 pounds of supplies to Texas.

“The students knew that the people of Texas needed help but didn't know the extent until we were there to see it,” said Haley.

Austin Large, Executive Director of the Texas FFA Association, said there has been generous support nation-wide from FFA chapters and individual donors helping to provide relief to members and chapters across Texas.



“With the A New Day: Texas Agricultural Education Disaster Relief Fund, we were able to raise over $200,000 from donors across the United States,” said Large. “Chapters that have received funding have utilized funds to pay FFA member dues, replace damaged equipment and instructional supplies, or rebuild/repair damaged structures.”

Even with the generosity of individuals and chapters across the country, Texas FFA and its members understand that rebuilding after the storm will be an ongoing process. However, they still remain hopeful.

“Today we are still rebuilding barns and houses, but things have been looking up for us,” said Neuman. “Harvey will always be a reminder that there will always be a brighter tomorrow.”
 
 
 
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