Mr. Speaker, not far from the beach in Rockport, Texas, lies the Gulf Pointe Plaza, a community providing care for the elderly. Their serene world was overturned when Hurricane Harvey bore down on the southeastern coast of Texas.
Mobilizing quickly, the care center successfully evacuated all of the 90-plus residents and transported them to sister facilities, out of harm’s way, before the storm hit. The fire departments of both Rockport and Travis County played a significant role in their successful evacuation.
Since September, the residents of Park Manor in Bee Cave have graciously played host to their displaced visitors, heartily welcoming them into their communities while the future of the facilities in Rockport remained up in the air. Current residents doubled up in rooms, and the staff converted the physical therapy room into a makeshift dormitory that slept 14 people.
The Rockport crew received support from well-wishers outside of Texas. Residents of the South Shore Care Center in Worthington, Minnesota, gathered together and painted signs with messages of support, including ‘‘Stay Strong Texas’’ and ‘‘God Bless You,’’ that they mailed to Texas to bolster the spirits of the uprooted Gulf Coast residents.
Just recently, the Gulf Pointe Plaza residents and employees, who relocated with their patients, received the good news that renovations on their new facility have been completed and that they will soon return home. In addition to those returning from Bee Cave, the facility will also take in new residents once it is reopened.
To celebrate their return to their original home, the residents and staff at Park Manor threw their visitors a Texas-themed goodbye party, complete with food, drinks, and, naturally, country music. While the folks from Rockport will be glad to return home, their farewell to their hosts was bittersweet.
Despite the stress of being displaced from their home, they take fond memories from their eight months spent in Bee Cave with them.
Mr. Speaker, the generosity, support, and helping hand provided by the Rockport and Travis County Fire Departments, the South Shore Care Center, and of course the Park Manor in Bee Cave are yet another example of the tremendous benevolence shown to the victims of Hurricane Harvey, and they represent everything that is good about America.
This is truly a country whose citizens will provide for each other in a time of need, even if it does mean going without a fitness area for eight months.
And that is just the way it is.