CEDAR RAPIDS — Lou and Diane Harvieux say they are feeling a special connection to the residents of Texas in the wake of historic flooding following Hurricane Harvey.
The Cedar Rapids couple — Lou, 76, and Diane, 71 — helped in the sandbagging effort during the flood of 2008 in the City of Five Seasons.
On Sunday afternoon, they were at the offices of JMS Transporation, 5650 Sixth St. SW, to help sort and load supplies the company plans to transport to Texas on Wednesday as part of its “Hauling for Houston” drive.
“We made a cash donation and thought if it wasn’t heavy, heavy work we could help,” said Lou Harvieux, who joined more than a dozen volunteers in helping out Sunday.
Asked about their reaction to the devastation of Harvey, Diane Harvieux had one simple word — “Heartbreaking.”
“A lot of people feel a kinship with the people of Texas,” added Lou Harvieux. “I think the people of Cedar Rapids are very generous and supportive.
“This feels really good.”
Riley Larson, general manager at JMS Transporation, said the response to the Hauling for Houston drive has been “absolutely incredible.”
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In addition to raising more than $3,700 through a gofundme page, enough supplies have been collected to fill a 53-foot-long trailer that will depart for Houston on Wednesday morning, Larson said.
He said he also reached out to Quaker for donations and the company responded by agreeing to contribute enough items to necessitate a second truck.
“It’s kind of crazy,” he said, adding about 40 volunteers showed up Saturday to help sort and load donations outside the company’s headquarters.
Larson said the company is going to continue accepting donations through Tuesday. He said the following items are most in need at this time: bleach and bleach wipes, mops and mop buckets, brooms, garbage bags, bug spray, diapers, paper goods, canned food, meat products in pouches, toiletries, granola and breakfast bars and peanut butter.
Larson said he reached out to the Mayor’s Office in Houston and was connected with a shelter being run by the World Harvest Outreach Seventh-day Adventist Church in Houston. That’s where two of his truck drivers will be heading on Wednesday as they make the nearly 1,000-mile trip from Cedar Rapids.
Larson said he, too, is planning to drive to Texas, picking up a friend in Missouri along the way, to help unload the supplies. He said he’s confident the items will be useful now and in the future.
“People need stuff now, but they’ll need stuff in a month, too,” he said.
Founded in 1992, JMS Transporation is owned by Larson’s parents, Shelly and Scott Larson. The company has a fleet of about 100 trucks, about 120 drivers and 18 office employees.
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