Helping Houston from Clarion
HOUSTON, Tx. (EYT) – The stories and images of the massive flooding in Texas right now are nothing less than devastating. Thousands have already been displaced by Tropical Storm Harvey, and the rain is still falling. As of Monday evening, there were an estimated 8,000 people in Houston shelters, and officials are predicting this storm will eventually drive up to 30,000 people from their homes.
In a situation like this, there are always questions about how people can help. Donations to organizations like The Red Cross are always an option, but for one Clarion native, that just wasn’t enough.
Chad Miller grew up in Clarion County and graduated from Keystone High School in 1997, where he was active in Baseball and 4-H. He went on to Slippery Rock University, and then Marshall University for his graduate degree. He currently owns a Medical Device Distributorship and a Neuromonitoring Company that is based out of Louisville, Kentucky, and also has an office in Houston, Texas.
“I was speaking with two of my friends that live in the Houston area,” Miller shared, “and I had also reached out to a few of my employees and my business partner in Houston to see how they are doing. My one friend, Dr. Jacob Hord, is a podiatrist in the Kingwood and Crosby area of Houston said that he was doing fine, but 60% of his town was under water and he was very worried about his patients.”
“I then spoke with Breno [Giacomini] and asked him how his teammates’ families were doing,” Miller continued, “and he said that the Texans team plane was diverted to Dallas and he and his teammates were not sure when they are going to be able to get back home. Breno said that a lot of his teammates were circling up to donate money, but he had heard through the Texans front office that a lot of the families in Houston had lost everything.”
“My next call was to my employees that work for me in Houston. Two of them were on vacation and are now stranded in their connecting airports and unable to even return back to Houston. They are very worried about their families and I started thinking about how terrible it must feel to be unable to check on your family, pets, and property. I then called my business partner in Houston, Dr. Bryan Hasse, and we began to brainstorm about what we could do to help.”
Miller started writing emails and social media posts around 3:30 a.m. on Monday. He knew people’s needs were immediate, and he wanted to move quickly. By 5:30 a.m., he had spoken to several COO’s of healthcare systems who were eager to help. By 9:00 a.m. he was able to establish collection centers in Kentucky, Pennsylvania, and New York. His next task was setting up distribution sites in Texas.
“Dr. Hord was able to speak to the superintendent of the Crosby Middle School and the Minister at the Crosby Church,” Miller said, “They have established a warehouse at the church to be able to accommodate the residents that are in the Crosby/Kingwood area. By 1:00 pm Breno called and said that the Houston Texans Organization would be able to help us by setting up a second distribution area at Reliant Stadium.”
His day didn’t end there, though. Miller soon began receiving calls and messages from people he worked with in California, as well. They started ordering things to contribute via Amazon and Costco. As word got out, people from the local community in Louisville and the surrounding area starting bringing donations. Within four hours, Miller and his team of employees were able to fill up an entire pallet of bottled water, non-perishable food, baby formula, and diapers.
That first shipment was just the beginning. As of about 11:30 p.m. Monday, Miller and his associates have donation collection centers being established in seven different states.
Locally, donations are being accepted at Miller’s Sporting Goods in Knox on Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and New Bethlehem Volunteer Company on Friday through Sunday from 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Recommended donations include water, non-perishable foods, diapers, formula, and pet food.
“What is really cool about this entire day is how so many people have come together for a common goal of helping those in need,” Miller said, “Being able to show people that they can help and not just think about doing something has been extremely rewarding. I cannot wait until the people in Houston receive these supplies.”
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