Friendships forged in fireFree Access

“Strength through adversity. The strongest steel is forged by the hottest fires. It is pounded and struck repeatedly… The fire gives it power and flexibility, and the blows give it strength. Those two things make it able to withstand every battle…”

-Sherrilyn Kenyon

When I read that quote it took me back to the end of August when our area first responders joined our colleagues in Port Aransas to assist in the apocalyptic scenes that remained after the landfall of Hurricane Harvey.

Our staff and those of area agencies worked side by side with Port Aransas Police and Fire as well as with other Texas agencies.  And because they rode together in patrol vehicles when bathing was a luxury, and ate cold food for days out of cans, and learned what its like to police an area without the luxury of a working police radio.  They forged new and unique bonds with our coastal friends.  These ladies and gentlemen learned what it is like to have to patch a flat tire 3 or 4 times a day and to know that you can’t get into a foot chase, because there are so many roofing nails on the ground that it’s not safe to run through an un-cleared area.

But even under those circumstances, those who answered the call to help got the job done.  It’s what they do.  And now many months later we have new friendships that will likely last a lifetime with those we volunteered to serve with.

When Jourdanton Police and Jourdanton VFD Firemen (and women) went back to Port Aransas last week to help an elderly veteran get into his new home, we saw familiar faces and were welcomed by some of the most hospitable people you will ever know.  People who had never heard of Jourdanton before August 27th, 2017 now recognized us and our team.  I laughed when both myself and Port Aransas Police Chief Scott Burroughs found ourselves wearing masks and gloves, while we side by side emptied bags of four month old spoiled food out of my truck at the local dump.  I vocally expressed (tongue in cheek) that the Chiefs being on garbage detail falls under the portion of our job description that reads “Other duties as assigned”.

You see, while knee deep in garbage or the moldy remnants of a flooded home there is no rank or seniority.  Just friends and co-workers who are not yet ready to stop aiding those in need.

Hurricane Harvey is gone and most of the volunteers have returned to their homes, but as we said in August, recovery is a marathon not a sprint.

I would like to give huge kudos to our JVFD partners who without hesitation stepped up when the call went out last week.  They didn’t even need to know what the job was, they only needed to know that their help was needed and they were ready to go.  And to our brothers and sisters who wear a badge or drag a fire hose in Port Aransas, even while your own homes remain in shambles you never fail to be there when needed.

You have been through the fire and your strength and resilience is inspirational.  Thank you for letting us be part of your story.

Until next time,

Chief Eric Kaiser

Eric Kaiser is the Chief of Police for the Jourdanton, Texas Police Department and a Master Texas Peace Officer

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