Houston natives head home to help hurricane victims

BRIGHT, Ind. -- "Being a Texan is something that's always in your heart," Greg Coolidge said Tuesday.

Although he's lived in Indiana long enough to become an involved member of Bright Christian Church, learning about the devastation Hurricane Harvey brought to his hometown, Houston, compelled him to go back -- with reinforcements.

He and seven other members of the church, including fellow former Houstonian Mark Marshall, packed a van Tuesday afternoon with donated supplies meant for those forced to abandon their homes and belongings amid widespread rain and flooding. Their group planned to leave that night and spend the rest of the week helping the storm's victims find safety, shelter and comfort.

"You hear things on the news, you read articles and people post pictures, and sometimes you feel like it is embellished," Coolidge said. "But once you start seeing your friends and family leaving homes, cars, livelihoods behind, it was kind of just a gut check."

Deb Wells, a Bright resident, said she sent them off with a bag of wash cloths and towels to help Texans who've been without running water indoors as the tide outside swelled.

"Can you imagine being soaking wet and you can't get a shower?" she said. "When I watch the TV, it just brings tears to my eyes. I just can’t imagine what they are going through. I feel so bad for them. ...  I wish I could give them more and more, everything I have to give them."

Coolidge, Marshal and their group planned to return to Indiana Sunday. After they return, they still plan to send shipments to those in need in the Lone Star State, so Bright Christian Church will continue to accept physical donations.

For more coverage of Hurricane Harvey and its aftermath, visit WCPO.com/harvey.

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