On the Sunday after Hurricane Harvey hit Houston, I got up to go to church but I couldn’t make it out of my driveway. I was stuck in my house for hours and saw television reports all morning about how fellow citizens were trapped in their houses with nowhere to go. I knew I had to do something.
I decided we were going to use our two furniture stores as rescue shelters. We posted a video online and used our social media to tell people they were welcome to stay in our furniture stores as long as they needed. We let them sleep on our recliners, mattresses, sleeper sofas and couches.
Some people couldn’t make it through the flooded streets so we dispatched 10 of our trucks and rescued about 200 people trapped in their homes or stranded on the highways. We had over 600 people living in our stores.
We’ve got a restaurant in each store so we cooked meals for them. We brought in portable showers. It cost some money to keep our stores open and for this furniture, but we can afford that. What we couldn’t afford was to have these people lose hope.
There was a lot of heartbreak caused by this hurricane. Being together during this time was helpful for all of us. People didn’t feel like they were on their own.
My parents always told me that you can preach a better sermon with your life than with your lips, and I try to live that way. And I will until I’m no longer around. So I’ve got a sign in my store that reads, “What you are is God’s gift to you. What you make of yourself is your gift to God.”