Family in need, Texans in need inspire Hauns to coordinate donation drive
The Texas Gulf coast region is not place many folks would consider visiting right now in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.
But Phil and Monica Haun who live between Tomah and Wilton have incentive for making the journey to the flood ravaged area. Phil Haun's brother Chuck and his wife, Sylvia, live in Rockport, Texas. Rockport is just north of Corpus Christi and was directly in Harvey's path.
Members of the Haun family are planning a relief trip to Rockport, departing Tomah early Friday morning. Joining Phil and Monica are his sister Mary and her husband Jack Mlsna, from Mt. Horeb and another brother, Jerry Haun, from Cashton.
At least two pickups pulling two trailers, possibly a third pickup and trailer will be en route. Phil Haun said the size of the travel party will depend on the amount of supplies collected.
Anyone interested in helping the people of Rockport can drop donations off at Queen of the Apostles Parish in Tomah. Donations need to be packed by Thursday, Sept. 7 to meet their scheduled departure on Friday.
"We're thankful that they experienced only minor damage to their home," said Phil Haun. "Their neighbors and most of the other residents in Rockport had their homes flooded, severely damaged or completely destroyed. Their lives are turned upside down in ways that we can never imagine. They were lucky. They had a utility shed blown off its foundation, but no bad flooding."
Their home is two miles from the coast, which likely lessened damage to their property. His brother and wife just finished building that home around Memorial Day after moving to Rockport from San Antonio where they lived for several years, he added.
Like other residents they complied with a forced evacuation before Harvey arrived. Chuck and Sylvia Haun drove 200 miles north with their camper to wait out the storm. Like others, Phil said they were uncertain what would remain of their home when allowed to return one week later.
"They are doing well," Phil said. "They had friends that lost a lot."
Phil's sister contacted several Rockport churches to coordinate a distribution plan for the donations once they arrive. Phil said they are also accepting cash donations. He expects to be in the Rockport area about one week.
Following is the list of supplies needed: blankets, pillows, sheets, towels, feminine hygiene products, toothpaste, toothbrushes, antiperspirant, razors, shaving cream, shampoo, laundry soap, wash cloths, diapers, wet wipes, hand sanitizer. CLEANING SUPPLIES--any and all kinds--sanitizers--bleach-lysol, work gloves, rubber gloves, coolers, sweat bands.
Other relief efforts
Staff Sgt. Dale Tilford is keeping close watch on the developing story of Hurricane Irma which is bearing down on Florida and the Caribbean. He has relatives living in its path in Florida.
But the Michigan native is taking action to provide relief for Harvey victims. Tilford belongs to the 1A1 Multi Function Training Brigade presently at Fort McCoy. With his pickup truck and trailer Tilford has collected relief supplies at the Sparta, Tomah and Onalaska Wal-Marts this week.
His last stop is at A1 Auto Parts in Mauston on Friday. From there he will hit the road to Rosenberg, Texas, a Houston suburb to deliver the supplies. His inspiration is simple.
"Being in uniform and doing what I can," Tilford said, adding he will decide whether to stay a few days to help with relief efforts after he arrives.
"I will see about staying there if needed for a couple of days," Tilford said.
Tilford will haul donations in water resistant totes covered by a tarp for protection. Sparta's Trinity Lutheran Church is sponsoring blood drives with the Blood Center of Wisconsin Monday, Sept. 25, noon to 5 p.m. and Tuesday, Sept. 26, 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.
One of the organizers, Kathy Edwards, said their goal is to collect 80 to 100 gallons each day.
"That is the amount we heard they are using in Houston each day," Edwards said.
The drive is in the fellowship hall, 612 N. Water St. To make an appointment call 269-5081. Walk ins are welcome.