The eighth named storm, third hurricane and first major hurricane of the extremely active 2017 hurricane season, Harvey was the costliest tropical cyclone of record. Harvey was also the first major hurricane to make landfall in the United States since 2005, ending a 12-year span in which no hurricanes made landfall at such an intensity in the country. Hurricane Harvey destroyed lives, left residents homeless and inflicted nearly $200 billion in damage. Over a four-day period, 1 trillion gallons of water fell on Houston and caused widespread flooding throughout the city and surrounding areas. The resulting floods inundated hundreds of thousands of homes, displaced more than 30,000 people and prompted more than 17,000 rescues. At a time where Houston was hurting and needed the men of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. the most, Rho Xi Chapter, and many other chapters across the nation, answered the call to service. It did not matter if residents’ homes were flooded or not, Rho Xi Chapter believed that everyone in Houston and its surrounding areas were affected by Hurricane Harvey. When asked about “Harvey victims”, Bro. Jason Johnson, Basileus of Rho Xi Chapter, responded, “These are our friends, family and neighbors. They are not victims.” The Brothers of Rho Xi Chapter banded together with each other, the Houston Area Coalition of Chapters (HACOC) and a host of other organizations to uplift their friends, family and neighbors. The American Red Cross established several locations for kind individuals and organizations to drop off donations. On August 29, 2017 the brothers of Rho Xi volunteered to assist the American Red Cross at Marshall High School in Missouri City, TX. The Brothers were tasked with transporting the donations into the school and organizing the food, bedding, snacks, children’s games and water. The American Red Cross and the people that we displaced by the hurricane were very appreciative of the uplift from the men of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. The Brothers of Rho Xi Chapter were not done. They knew that Houston would need their help for more than one day. Rho Xi Chapter joined forces with the HACOC to assist the Community of Faith Church on August 31, 2017. The Brothers cleaned the day care center and storage room, the areas most affected by the storm, and were tasked with receiving and organizing the donations from the public. On September 1, 2017 Rho Xi Chapter’s volunteerism continued. The Brothers assisted a homeowner affected by Hurricane Harvey by removing flooring and damaged drywall, tarping the roof and clearing debris. The following morning, September 2, 2017, the Brothers of Rho Xi Chapter banded together to assist one of their very own, Bro Del Shon Waller. Brothers assisted Bro. Waller with post-flood removal of damaged drywall, flooring, clearing debris and spraying bleach on the affected areas to prevent mold. That afternoon, the Brothers of Rho Xi Chapter finished assisting Bro. Waller and departed for Omega Nu Phi Education Center (ONPEC), affectionately referred to as “The Frat House”, to assist the HACOC with receiving and organizing donations and serving food. A hot meal and supplies were available for any member of the community that was displaced or in need. The comradery of the brothers and the uplifting of the community were unparalleled. Due to the significant amount of people that were affected by Hurricane Harvey the Brothers of Rho Xi Chapter insisted that there was more they could do to uplift the community. After serving the community at ONPEC, the Brothers traveled to Whole Foods. The health food grocery store chain donated more than 2,000 bottles of water to Rho Xi Chapter. The Brothers distributed the bottles of water to those staying at the George R. Brown Convention Center in downtown Houston, which was being used as a temporary shelter. Normally Labor Day is a day that everyone has an opportunity to rest at home, September 4, 2017 was different for the Brothers of Rho Xi Chapter. Areas of Houston were still flooded, and the community was in dire need of necessities. Rho Xi Chapter continued their distribution efforts by partnering with Cricket Wireless. The Brothers served free lunch and distributed toiletry kits and school supplies to the members of the community in attendance. The support provided by the Brothers of Rho Xi Chapter was greatly appreciated by all of the organizations and the community.
Ben Coleman2018-02-20T09:17:40-06:00September 4th, 2017|