More than a week after Hurricane Harvey made landfall, floodwaters are still covering roads in some communities along the Texas gulf coast.
In other communities, the waters have receded and people are beginning to clean up.
“You have a heart for those living through it. This is the best thing that I have every done,” said Billy Eldridge, the Sr. Director of Operations for the Nashville Rescue Mission.
It takes a village to rebuild, and following almost every hurricane and natural disaster to hit the United States over the last few years, Eldridge has been there with his chainsaw.
“I work at the mission full time but I’ve been cutting trees for 25, 30 years,” he told News 2.
Eldridge moved to Nashville and landed at the Nashville Rescue Mission years ago. Now, he is the Senior Director of Operations, but he has not forgotten what it was like when Hurricane Katrina hit close to his home in south Louisiana.
“The mission has allowed me to do it for every hurricane since Katrina, Gustov, Isaac, Rita. I was down for all of those, plus the wildfires and tornadoes in east Tennessee,” Eldridge told News 2 over the phone.
Since last week, he and two others from the mission have been working in the hardest hit areas along the gulf coast.
“They had maybe 30 trees down in their yard so we just help them cut them up,” Eldridge said.
He told News 2 the Nashville Rescue Mission has funded the trips where he has gone to volunteer.
“They actually fund the trip. They are paying for the gas; we stayed at a hotel room last night,” explained Eldridge.
Eldridge said describing the devastation is tough, but he is thankful to be able to lend a hand.
“You pull up, they see you are tree crew and it is like we just can’t afford it. Well, you can’t pay us. You are not allowed to pay us, we are here to volunteer,” he explained.
Despite sleeping in their truck and eating whenever they can, Eldridge said it is his way of giving back and helping like so many did for him.
He and his team hope to be able to stay for most of the week and return home on Thursday.
Another Nashville Rescue Mission staff member also travelled to Texas to help his parents after their home was damaged by floodwater.
Courtesy of Nashville’s WKRN News 2 – by Brett Martin – Team from Nashville Rescue Mission helps with flood damage in Texas