Like many Houstonians, Joseph and Melissa Fitzgerald West felt helpless as Hurricane Harvey’s unprecedented downpour caused catastrophic damage to the city they call home. Their house and business, West Studios, both located in the Heights, did not flood. But that didn't stop the Wests from feeling helpless and heartbroken for the 30,000 displaced Houstonians who weren’t as fortunate.
“After being glued to the news on television and social media, the only moments of relief were during the coverage of rescues. The words of Mr. Rogers kept echoing in my mind: 'Look for the helpers,'" shares Melissa. "I knew Hope for Harvey was something we could do. No matter how much rain fell, as long as we had battery life on our phones, we could contribute.”
Melissa, Joseph and their West Studios team have been doing just that by sharing uplifting, heartwarming stories of heroism and selfless acts on their new and vastly popular Instagram account, even after storm clouds have cleared.
“These people's actions create a domino effect—one story of kindness encourages more acts of kindness, proving that even small actions can be heroic," says Melissa. "Hopefully seeing these stories will inspire others to volunteer, donate and think beyond themselves. In times like these, differences in religion, race and politics are washed away and it’s just people helping people. That's the silver lining of the storm clouds.”
Here, the Wests share a handful of the heroic faces and stories they've collected after Hurricane Harvey. Get your tissues ready.
Wayside // "Four bakers who became trapped in their bakery for two days in the wake of Hurricane Harvey made hundreds of loaves of bread to give to flood victims. The workers from the @elbolillobakery in Houston, Texas, used up nearly 2,000kg of flour to bake bread and pan dulce, Mexican sweet bread, throughout the night and day after they were left stranded by the floods over the weekend." - words via @the.independent. Photo via @elbolillobakery
Cypress 🐕 // "Locals Tim Palazzolo, Frank Comiskey , Joey Palazzolo , George Palazzolo, and Matt McGarvey helped rescue the animals from the Dogs Day Inn off 290 and Barker Cypress. They were taking on water and had 30+ dogs stranded. With the help of boats and Jet Skis, we were able to get them all to higher ground." Story submitted by @lularoeashleyjoseph
Have a story to share? Send your heroic tales to firstname.lastname@example.org