Ohioans set to help Harvey victims: Wilmington native sees destruction firsthand

PORTLAND, Texas — Wilmington native Regina Esslinger has seen firsthand both the destruction of Hurricane Harvey and the outpouring of help and donations coming into Texas in the storm’s aftermath.

The graduate of Wilmington High School and Wilmington College (′91 and ′96, respectively) lives in Portland, Texas, about 25 miles north of where the eye of the hurricane hit in Rockport Harbor, where her husband Justin works.

“It was really destructive over there,” Esslinger said.

Their home was damaged by wind and rain that forced them to evacuate for 3-4 days, with no electricity for about a week.

“We didn’t know what we were going to come home to, but we just had some basic damage to roofing and fencing, as opposed to the flooding that devastated other areas.

“In Houston, it ruined homes from the bottom up,” said Esslinger, who works as a human resources manager in Corpus Christi along the gulf coast.

The building in which she works was spared, but, “Some co-workers lost homes; whether they’re totally gone or still standing, mold will remain on the inside.”

The building in Rockport Harbor where her husband works for the Texas Parks & Wildlife Coastal Fisheries received some damage, but not nearly what others experienced.

There was a lot of destruction around his building, so he went to help at his department’s other location.

“Some buildings that have been there forever are gone now,” Esslinger said.

“A lot of people who live there are trying to get their lives together. Schools are closed indefinitely; hopefully in three to four months they’ll get back to some normalcy.

She said that the generosity of Americans has been amazing.

“I want to stress that so many people have been so generous,” she said. “And the people hare are so thankful. They appreciate the outpouring of help.

“I hope in the months and years to come people aren’t forgotten,” she added. “They’ll still need help and it’s going to be a long haul.”

How to help locally

The Wilmington-Clinton County Chamber of Commerce will serve as a collection point for donations for Hurricane Harvey victims.

Chamber members, local businesses, and members of the community are invited to drop off items at the Chamber office at 100 W. Main St., Wilmington, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 6 through Friday, Sept. 8.

All donations will be delivered to Matthew 25 Ministries in Cincinnati. Matthew 25 Ministries’ work helps the poorest of the poor and disaster victims throughout the United States and around the world.

Matthew 25 Ministries accepts the following for disaster relief:

• Monetary donations: Donate online or mail checks to Matthew 25: Ministries, 11060 Kenwood Road, Cincinnati, OH 45242. Donors who would like to designate their financial gifts for Hurricane Relief may do so by writing “Hurricane Relief” in the memo line of their check. One-hundred percent of donated funds designated for Hurricane Relief will be used for the purpose intended.

• Non-perishable food: Pull-top canned vegetables, fruits etc.; ready-to-eat dry goods such as nuts, peanut butter, dried fruits, granola and trail mixes, jerky, ready to eat snacks; bottled water; ready- to-eat meals/MREs etc.

• Personal care products: Antibacterial soap, hand sanitizer, toothpaste, toothbrushes, shampoo, body wash, deodorant, lotion etc.

• Cleaning supplies: Laundry detergents, general cleaner, sponges, bleach (powdered form is preferred), mops, scrub brushes, buckets, rubber gloves etc.

• Paper products: Toilet paper, paper towels etc.

• Baby and infant supplies: Diapers, wipes, diaper rash ointment, baby wash, baby shampoo, baby lotion etc.

• First-aid items: Bandages, gauze, pads, first aid tape, antiseptic creams, hydrogen peroxide, alcohol, latex gloves, instant cold packs etc.

If you have questions, please call Kaity Stuckert at 937-382-2737 or email kstuckert@wccchamber.com.

Blan lends a hand

The Laurels of Blanchester continues to partner with the community to help those in need. Recognizing the devastation and the immense need in the Texas area due to Hurricane Harvey, the Laurels will have a Fill the Bus event on Heritage Drive outside the Blanchester Kroger store 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, Sept. 8.

Items that are most in demand are non-perishable food items which can include cans with a pop-off ring, toiletries, paper goods and bottled water. They will also be collecting monetary donations that will be given to the American Red Cross to help them in their efforts as well.

Questions regarding the event can be directed to Peggy Morgan at 937-783-4911.

Equestrian Center helps

The World Equestrian Center in Wilmington was contacted by Sugar Run Farm out of Plain City, Ohio to help with their relief effort, SRF Houston Aid.

The Equestrian Center helped load pet food and supplies and 16 tons of hay in an R+L Carriers truck driven by Jen Nadalin. The hay was supplied by Wes Krabill.

If people wish to donate physical items, email chris@sugarrunfarm.com. Donations can be made to their Go Fund Me page — gofundme.com/srf-animal-run-for-houston. For tax-deductible donations, use bellavistaequinevet.com and link to their Pay Pal, and note your intentions.

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The Aquarium at Rockport Harbor in Texas was destroyed by Harvey. The Texas Parks and Wildlife’s Rockport Marine Lab — where Regina Esslinger’s husband Justin works — is the brown building still standing in the back.
http://www.madison-press.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/37/2017/09/web1_IMG952138.jpgThe Aquarium at Rockport Harbor in Texas was destroyed by Harvey. The Texas Parks and Wildlife’s Rockport Marine Lab — where Regina Esslinger’s husband Justin works — is the brown building still standing in the back. Contributed photo | Regina Esslinger

By Tom Barr


Donating nationally

• The Salvation Army: Online at helpsalvationarmy.org; call 1-800-SAL ARMY; text STORM to 51555.

• American Red Cross: Online at redcross.org; call 1-800-RED CROSS; text HARVEY to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

While financial donations to reputable organizations can help provide assistance to Texans in need, the Better Business Bureau and Give.org advise caution when donating to organizations that have not been vetted and do not have a history of providing disaster relief.

So-called storm chasers looking to capitalize on the disaster may launch crowdfunding appeals, according to the BBB.

If you see a suspicious campaign, you can report it to the BBB Scam Tracker, or to the Texas attorney general’s hotline at 800-621-0508 or via email at consumeremergency@nag.texas.gov.