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Interstate highway 45 is submerged from the effects of Hurricane Harvey seen during widespread flooding in Houston, Texas, U.S. August 27, 2017. REUTERS/Richard Carson – RC1A2732B020

With more than fifty members in Texas, and the majority of those in Houston, the Tilt-Up Concrete Association (TCA) has those affected by hurricane Harvey on our minds and in our hearts. As I write this letter, the event impacting the state is far from over. Recovery efforts are on hold as rescue efforts are ongoing. Rivers are yet to crest and more rain is on the way. I’m sitting here in Iowa, thinking about our network and wondering how we can help.

I have a sense about how things are going down there as in 2008 my hometown was hit with historic flooding unlike anything the city had ever seen. Waters reaching well beyond the 500-year flood plane destroyed city services, public institutions, private businesses and hundreds of homes including that of my parents. While we waited to regain access we could only imagine the damage, and while many people reached out to help, we were clueless as to the kind of help we would need.

As I spoke with members in Houston over the weekend and this morning, they echoed that uncertainty. They’re not yet sure of the damage caused. They don’t have access to their offices or job sites. They don’t know how many of their employees’ homes were lost and they’re just beginning to think about how they will organize. Having a good emergency management plan does not fill in the gaps of information that are inevitable in these situations.

What I learned from our experience here in Cedar Rapids was the value of showing up and working as a team. Many people kindly offer help, but put the burden on the person affected to reach out with instructions. They say things like, “Let me know how I can help.” Or “Let me know if you need something.” I wholeheartedly believe they mean it, but in the stress of recovery, people are not exactly in the mindset it takes to coordinate and communicate with volunteers. For us, it was best for people to simply show up. Those that arrived ready to work and those that arrived with food were most appreciated. Those that helped their neighbors, shared resources and worked as a team were better off than those that chose only to take care of themselves. We always talk of coming together in a time of crisis. I encourage you to take that literally next time there are people in need in your community. Once it is safe to do so, show up and work as a team. We’re all in this together.

Mitch Bloomquist

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TILT-UP TODAY, a publication of the Tilt-Up Concrete Association, is THE source for Tilt-Up industry news, market intelligence, business strategies, technical solutions, product information, and other resources for professionals in the Tilt-Up industry. A subscription to TILT-UP TODAY is included in a TCA membership. Subscriptions for potential TCA members are also available. If you would like to receive a complimentary subscription to the publication, please contact the TCA.