Who is your every day hero? We asked a few neighbors and this is what they said:
Lesil Gessner would like to send a shout out to the anonymous neighbor who made a difference the week after Hurricane Harvey: “Thank you to the kind woman in Kroger who paid the difference while my kids were shopping for our family groceries. I was helping a friend pack up her flooded home and my teenagers went shopping. They were short and she offered to make up the difference. It taught my kids the importance of helping others.”
Kim Hogstrom would like to salute former Commander Richard Voorhies of American Legion Post 560 in Garden Oaks. She said, “He took that old post from a death spiral and breathed life back into it. The Post now does so much for the community, it has a national reputation in the American Legion. Liberty Kitchen has even added a Post 560 Burger on its menu to thank the Post for its initiative in the community. Richard is a Vietnam veteran.
Oak Forest neighbor Gordon Taylor reports his hero is Charlie Cunningham, also of Oak Forest, because Cunningham is done with criminals! Recently awakened during the night by his truck’s alarm, Cunningham leapt up, grabbed his keys, pistol and cell phone, and took off after the criminals, barefoot and in his underwear (yes, he did), following them until HPD caught up with the stolen vehicle and arrested the thieves in the Pinemont/Antoine area. The criminals were caught and Cunningham was able to get his truck back in one piece. It doesn’t get much better than that! Susan and Keith Kostelecky are heroes in Garden Oaks for welcoming a family of fairies in their front yard. Word along the on the Lavendar Grapeline from Fairyland is that a pick your own pumpkin patch is coming soon. A fairy mailbox is said to be coming soon!
Cynthia and Johnny Rojas are also everyday heroes for hosting a family of fairies in their giant oak tree on the corner of Gardenia and Glebe in Oak Forest. Recently, adorable acorn charms with hand wrought metal wrapped around them to hang on a necklace appeared at the front door as a gift from Fairyland to visitors.
Some of our wonderful neighbors worked together across neighborhoods and neighboring cities throughout the Hurricane Harvey ordeal and rescued countless animals, working alongside animal rescue groups and individually to rescue animals from flooded shelters and pet stores, flooded homes and vehicles, and outdoors in flood waters. As frightening as the event was for our humans, thousands of animals were also lost, swept away in flood waters, and needed a helping hand. Animal lovers who were able to do so leapt into action. Several thousand displaced animals were rescued, retrieved, fostered, adopted, and some returned to their rightful owners – and this Herculean effort took many hours and many people, and continues on today. Animals were moved to safe locations during the flooding and some were moved yet again to other locations better equipped to house the large volume of animals rescued as well as turned over by families unable to care for them due to losing their homes. Some if not all of these folks also fostered animals in their own homes, feeding newborns with bottles and tending to wounds, driving the animals to vets, etc. Neighbors has received many shout outs to Best Friends (a nationwide group) and Austin Pets Alive, because they not only sent volunteers to Houston from other cities and states, they also sent boats, kennels, food, blankets and much needed supplies. Volunteers are still working, caring for hundreds of animals, sending animals to other cities and states to be adopted out, and working very diligently to find owners of animals identified as lost pets in the Metropolitan Houston area. Just a few of your neighbors involved in literally rescuing animals, shuttling animals to care centers, traveling to deliver animals to shelters in other states, fundraising and more are Tina Sabuco, Shellye Arnold, Bill Baldwin, Hilary Cobb, Adrienne Balfour-Huertas, and Gloria Medina Zenteno.
Many of you know local artist Bridgitte Mongeon and her daughter, photographer Christina Sizemore, who throughout the storm and beyond personally reached out and connected boat owners with folks needing water rescue and homeless families needing shelter with temporary homes; collected mountains of food, clothing and other much needed items for donation to area shelters; and also collected supplies to send to Rockport by helicopter and Puerto Rico. There was even a helicopter or two involved in Christina’s efforts! Their efforts cannot be given enough credit in these column inches.
Frank Black Middle Schoolers will participate in a Football, Foam and Frisbee event on Oct. 17, to raise funds for technology acquisition, teacher grants, classroom materials, facility upgrades and more. It’s a fun run but with a twist! The total student body participates in this athletic event where students will toss Frisbees, throw footballs and run the track, finishing with a run through a blast of foam, attempting to make it into the Guinness Book of World Records for the most Frisbee and football throws. This is a PTO sponsored event for which each student registers – instead of selling candy or wrapping paper, the kids are seeking sponsorships for themselves to raise funds for their school. Would you like to donate and sponsor a student, but don’t know a FBMS student? Email firstname.lastname@example.org for instructions to donate to “Frankie The Panther” either online or by check made out to FBMS PTO. Frank Black is an HISD campus and many items campuses dearly need are not in the budget for HISD schools and those items must be provided by donations and fundraising – things such as paying for school buses for field trips and field trips themselves, updated technology, funds for teachers to use for classroom materials and educational aids, and much more. FBMS Principal Paolo Castagnoli shared, “We are very excited about our fall fundraiser as it provides an opportunity for the school and community to come together and raise funds for our campus in a fun and exciting way. We love our community.”