Inside a full sanctuary at First Baptist Church, Rockport today, Vice President Mike Pence and Texas Governor Gregg Abbott thanked and encouraged a crowd of survivors, volunteers, and faith-based non-profits as we commemorate the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Harvey making landfall in South Texas.
The event started out with music and choir, during which technical difficulties changed the plan. The Spirit won out and led by the church’s Minister of Choral Worship, Marcia Peterson, the congregation sang “Amazing Grace” and “How Great Thou Art” – not sure what was planned but this was moving for the attendees.
FBC Rockport’s Pastor, Scott Jones, talked about the long road of recovery. “So much has been accomplished in the past year. We are entering into what is often called the ‘disappointment phase’ after a disaster,” Jones said. The disappointment happens about a year out when the accomplishments fade in memory but the distance to go is heightened in one’s awareness. “The recovery effort is far from over – it is long, difficult, and slow,” Jones said. “The community must come together to fully rebuild. We have come very far but we have not finished yet.”
Vice President Pence, while encouraging attendees said, “In times like this you want to be able to count on the government. But it is also the neighbors too…those who put their lives on the line for others.”
The Vice President took a moment to thank the faith-based organizations who act as “the hands and feet of Christ” and encouraged them to “not grow weary of doing well.” Among his comments he mentioned facts about the work: 5,100 volunteers, 105,000 volunteer hours, and $300,000 which has all been poured back into rebuilding the community through First Baptist Church, Rockport. In referencing the work of the church and partnering organizations like Texas Baptist Men, Pence said, “You inspired a nation by your efforts.”
Texas Governor Gregg Abbott and Vice President Pence both spoke of their collaborative work over the past year and pledge to continue until “Rockport is built back. But not just to where it was, better.” Amidst these comments were inclusive talk of all neighborhoods in the community will rise together. When talking about the continued work in the area, Abbott stated, “God is not done with us yet.”
TBM served with and through FBC Rockport who embraced their community in incredible ways. The church as an integral staging and command center from about October to July for TBM volunteers.