One year later, Texas is still bouncing back from the historic and catastrophic Hurricane Harvey. A group of Aggies is helping the recovery continue.

The Category 4 storm touched the Texas Gulf Coast on Aug. 25th, 2017, bringing winds up to 130 miles per hour, which led to the destruction of many houses and buildings in the Houston area. Harvey lingered over Houston for four days.

Last year, a grassroots organization made up of Texas A&M University students came together to collect relief supplies for those affected by the storm. They called on the Aggie community, and donations filled an 18-wheeler and four moving trucks with approximately 1,000 cases of water, 350 boxes of food, diapers, toiletries, air mattresses, and other items. In addition, the students were able to raise $30,000 for the American Red Cross as well as attract Aggie alumnus and Denver Broncos superstar Von Miller to captain the initiative. He donated $100,000 toward the group effort.

Lending a helping hand

Biology student William Lamm ’19, president of BTHO (Building to Help Others), recently reflected over what happened last year. “Now that a year has passed, it is about going back to rebuild,” Lamm said. “There are still many people displaced without a home, and that is where we can come in.”

The aid continued last spring semester, when Project BTHO took 120 students to three areas in Katy, Texas, to muck out houses, clean up the streets, and even help in the rebuilding process for houses. “We met with several families who had a hard time getting back on their feet, and for them to see us come down as students from A&M really changed their mindset about it all,”  Lamm said. “When they saw us, they saw smiling faces and hopefulness.”

This sense of hope was extended to one of Mays’ own. Business administration sophomore Stephanie Licon ’21 and her family were affected by the storm. They were not expecting the amount of damage the storm would cause. However, despite the damage, her community came together to get past this tragic event. “The initiative was helpful because it was a support system and assured the people affected that they were not alone,” Licon said. “Even though people are still recovering from the damage done by the hurricane, we have grown more appreciative to any help from outside, which has changed the atmosphere of the town. The BTHO initiative brought a sense of hope and support to my town.”

What attracted Lamm to this organization was when the storm hit, he wanted to help, but wasn’t sure what he could do as an individual. He never thought he could help others in this large of a scale. Now, as president of the organization, he hopes to bring that scale of impact to any student that is interested in serving those in need.

The future

As an organization, BTHO will continue to help those in need as well as find other ways for volunteers to help in College Station. They are constantly looking for partnerships with local businesses and churches. With the mantra “Aggies helping Aggies,” BTHO has raised $450,000 in donations, collected five tons of supplies, and helped residents of about 35 homes.

For more information on BTHO Harvey, email bthoharvey@gmail.com

See last year’s stories on these efforts:

https://mays.tamu.edu/news/2017/09/14/grassroots-effort-generates-donations-after-hurricane-harvey/

https://mays.tamu.edu/stories/aggie-impact-and-hurricane-relief-a-personal-account-of-the-harvey-relief-effort/