Happy birthday to neighbor Louis Ringh a/k/a Johnny Ringo. Ringo will be 90 years old on Sept. 11, and will be celebrating his special day with his lovely wife, Evelyn. Ringo, one of Oak Forest’s special treasures, can be seen riding through the neighborhood on his bicycle, visiting neighbors and spreading love, laughter and kindness along the way.
Happy birthday to Amber Shumate who is 20! Amber celebrated her special day with her grandmother, Betty Taite, parents Cliff and Michelle Bigley, sister Ashlyn Shumate, and brother Cody Shumate at Tony’s Mexican Restaurant. Amber is a busy young lady who attends HCC and works for Paws Pet Resort. Wishing you sunshine and happiness!
Many of our neighbors made a significant difference throughout the greater Houston area during the preparation, the storm itself and clean up of Hurricane Harvey. I wanted to share just a few of the stories we’ve received:
The Shepherd Forest Civic Club became first-responders last week, when Hurricane Harvey pushed the floodwaters of White Oak Bayou into Section 3 of their subdivision. Civic Club President Kurt Schoeffler efficiently organized assistance from all three sections to help the residents of the 3700-3900 blocks of Gardendale. Neighbors came with trucks, tools and energy to help with the cleanup efforts as they cleared the water-soaked homes of damaged furniture, sheet rock, and personal items. If you can help with relocation, supplies or cleanup, reach out to email@example.com.
Alice and Mark Sarmiento, our neighbors in Garden Oaks, shared that their children asked neighbors in Section 1 for any spare change they might have sitting in a jar or could be found on the bottom of their purses. Rowan-11 years old, Olivia-8 years old, and Nathan-5 years old, collected over $900 in spare change! A family matched the kids’ collection by donating $1,000. After rolling and counting the coins, the kids cashed them in and then went shopping to fill flood victims’ wish lists from A Second Cup and The Giving Hub in the Heights. Shopping for two days, the kids cleaned out Big Lots, the baby aisle at Kroger and Costco. Sarmiento said the children worked hard and couldn’t have done it without the generosity of the Garden Oaks neighborhood. They are still collecting and plan to continue their efforts as long as they are needed.
Amy (Wethington) Horne, Director of The Oaks Preschool, provided free childcare last week to assist parents who were involved in their own cleanup, volunteering to help others and those who had children who were just a little stir crazy after being cooped up during the storm. For infants to children of 12 years in age, they provided games, arts and crafts, outdoor time and indoor gym time. A good time was had by all.
Our neighbor in Shepherd Park Plaza Helen Sangree shares: “Ian and I were enjoying a wonderful vacation in the Canadian Rockies when Harvey hit. Our neighbors Rebecca Swint and Lee Swint kept us informed by phone and text. Late at night Lee Swint trudged through deep water to check on our home. We will always be grateful for their help.”
Andy Tomczeszyn was thrilled to be invited to flip burgers at Myti-Burger on Sunday afternoon, Aug. 27, while many of us were wading through our flooded houses and trying to figure out the next step. Myti-Burger owner Shawn Salyers was determined to open to support the neighborhood so he reached out for volunteers. With the help of a few friends, Myti-Burger was open for business and served some very hungry and tired folks over 100 lbs of hamburgers and 10 cases of fries. A huge shout of thanks goes out to Brian Lovins, Andy Tomczeszyn, Justin Gordon and Troy Witherspoon along with a few other volunteers who made this possible. Additionally, over the next few days Salyers drove far and wide in search of hamburger buns and other supplies to keep the hamburgers flipping. A constant and positive presence in the community, Salyers was working to clean up flood damage at Oaks Dads Club a few days later.
Everyone’s favorite chickenman – Naro M., General Manager of Hartz Krispy Chicken on Pinemont – braved deep water and crazed crowds throughout the week to shop and prepare free meals to serve to well over 200 first responders (HPD, HFD) as well as countless victims of Hurricane Harvey at shelters and within our community. Naro said, “We have the kitchen, staff, and heart to do more. Our goal is to deliver 200-300 meals per day.” Naro was able to raise nearly $4,000 through a GoFundMe page to subsidize the cost of the meals.
Heartwarming stories are pouring in to share, so we will have more for you next week. Feel free to let us know how your neighbors made a difference for your family or our community by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I believe our area – Heights, Lazybrook, Timbergrove, Shepherd Park Plaza, Shepherd Park Terrace, Northside, Inwood, Brookesmith, Sunset Heights, Woodland Heights, Norhill Heights, Forest Pines, Forest West, Acres Homes, Shady Acres, Oak Forest – is one of the most unique communities in a major metropolitan area in the U.S. There are wonderful people throughout Leader Country!