Good People Doing Good Things — Texans

Last week Texas, like many other places across the United States, was hit with a massive snowstorm. The difference between Texas and the Midwest in this case is that the Midwest is used to these storms, is prepared with equipment for clearing streets, etc., and … the Midwest relies on a large power grid that covers half the nation.  Texas, however, has its own power grid, and isn’t prepared for such a severe snowstorm, so at one point, tens of millions of people were without power in the freezing cold. Add to that frozen water pipes, so millions were without water, and food shortages, and icy roads that most Texans have never had to contend with, and it was a recipe for disaster.  But there is one thing you can count on in a disaster … there will be those who go out of their way to be the ‘better angels’ that are needed.  Today, I have a few such stories and I think you’ll find there are some really good people down there in the Lone Star State.

They opened their home to a stranger

Chelsea Timmons delivers groceries on weekends to make extra money, and she was making her last delivery of the weekend the Sunday the storm hit, February 14th.  As she slowly made her way up to a client’s long, sloped driveway in Austin, things suddenly took a bad turn: Her car began to slide uncontrollably toward the client’s house.  Luckily, she did not hit the house, but instead she crashed into the homeowners’ flower beds, then took out a small tree before her Toyota RAV4 came to a rest.

The homeowner, Doug Condon, came out and tried to help Timmons, sprinkling birdseed around her tires for traction, but to no avail.  Condon and his wife, Nina Richardson, told Timmons to come inside and get warm while she called AAA and several towing companies.  After making calls for several hours, Timmons said she finally realized that help wasn’t coming. Nobody could come out because the roads were terrible and accidents were piling up all over, and her home was three hours away, in Houston.

timmonsAt this point, Condon, 58, and Richardson, 62, realized they could send her back out into the storm, or they could invite her to stay. They invited her to stay.  Long story short, Chelsea stayed with Condon and his wife for five days before she was finally able to get her vehicle out of the ice & snow!  For five days, snowed in, they got to know each other and became almost as family.  After goodbye hugs all around, the three vowed to stay in touch …

“We’re definitely going to stay in touch. How could we not? I know their address.”

Speaking of better angels …

Ryan Sivley deserves a hero’s medal, for he is absolutely a hero to some 500 Texans.  When the storm hit on Sunday, Sivley headed to the corner store to stock up on supplies.  On his way, he saw several cars stuck in snowbanks and ditches on the side of the road.  Well, Ryan just happens to drive a 2010 4-wheel drive Chevrolet Silverado, equipped with equipment such as chains, hooks, and recovery tow straps.  Now, Ryan doesn’t work for a towing company, but he does like to go off-roading with his buddies on weekends, hence the equipment.

sively-truckRyan’s adventure began that Sunday when he stopped to help ‘a few people’ …

“I had all my gear, so I thought, ‘let me just help.’ As fast as I was clearing cars out, people were pulling in and getting stuck.  I went from helping one person, to three people, to five people. At 434 cars, I stopped counting. So many people are still stranded.”

Sivley secured each vehicle to his truck, then pulled it past dangerous terrain, until the driver could safely take the wheel. In some cases, such as a young woman stranded 3 miles from her parents’ house, Sivley even towed the person all the way to their destination!

sivley-icySivley’s rescue efforts extended beyond towing cars. When he saw how treacherous the roads were, he began driving health-care workers to and from work and single-handedly relocating people who didn’t have electricity or running water.  He hasn’t charged a dime for any of what he’s done, though in one day he went through three tanks of diesel fuel for his truck.  He estimates that for 5-6 days that week, he was out from 4:00 a.m. until midnight rescuing people.  Damn, but I do so want to shake this man’s hand … if there is such a thing as a hero, Ryan Sivley is one!

C’mon in out of the cold

Jim McIngvale is known for his showmanship.  Jim owns a chain of furniture stores in Texas known as Gallery Furniture, and he’s been known for some showy television ads, such as one where he is actually wearing a mattress!   But when the power grid failed in Texas, leaving millions freezing in their homes, some with medical conditions that required equipment that depends on electricity, Jim became a hero.

He opened the doors of his furniture stores to anyone in need of warmth and shelter.  Anyone is welcome to use the beds and sofas in his showrooms, take in a movie or basketball game on his big screen televisions and sit down to a hot meal, said McIngvale, 70.

“Obviously, there’s a lot of angst among the community coming in here. They’re shellshocked. They’ve been home for days in the cold with no electricity, no heat, no water, no plumbing.”

McIngvale-2While the store has power supplied by a generator filled with 15,000 gallons of diesel fuel, only one faucet is working because of frozen pipes, said McIngvale.  He brought in portable toilets and rigged a special flush system in the restrooms with extra water.

McIngvale has also paid food vendors to bring in tacos, enchiladas, hamburgers, hot dogs and breakfast burritos.

“To whom much has been given, much is expected. We’ve benefited from public support over the years, so it’s our obligation to open our doors and let people come in to get a respite from the storm. It’s the right thing to do.”

McIngvaleThis isn’t the first time McIngvale has done this.  He opened his Gallery Furniture stores to people who fled Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Hurricane Harvey in 2017 and Tropical Storm Imelda in 2019.  Jim McIngvale is another whose hand I would like to shake … he is a good people for sure!

These are just a few of the good people who have opened doors and hearts to the people of Texas – I had bookmarked at least 5 other stories of people being the ‘better angels’ in this time of crisis.  As of five days ago, at least 58 people had died as a result of the storm and related power outages, icy highways, lack of water, etc., and it is said that the full death toll may take months to determine.  I suspect that the three people highlighted here saved a lot of lives last week.  Thumbs up to them, as well as others who were too busy helping people to escape to Cancún (sorry, I couldn’t resist).

42 thoughts on “Good People Doing Good Things — Texans

  1. It may no longer be prudent to have each recipient building’s entire electrical delivery relying on external power lines that are too susceptible to various crippling power-outage-causing events (e.g. storms and tectonic shifts)?
    And then there’s the potentially disastrous coronal mass ejection (CME) effect to consider, in which extensive power grids are vulnerable to being fried.

    I could really appreciate the liberating effect of having my own independently accessed solar-cell power supply (clear skies permitting, of course), especially considering my/our dangerous reliance on electricity. And it will not require huge land-flooding and potentially collapsing water dams, nor constructing towering wind turbine farms.

    Each building having its own solar-cell-panel power storage/system — at least as an emergency/backup source of power — makes sense (except, of course, to the various big energy corporation CEOs whose concern is dollars-and-cents profit margin).

    Many Texas residents are now realizing this.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Your knowledge of such things is far greater than my own, so I really cannot argue pro or con, but I do know that had Texas remained connected to the two power grids that cover the rest of the U.S., they would not likely have had the problems they had.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’ll wager that you are correct.

        Both American and Canadian governances maintain thinly veiled yet firm ties to large corporations, as though elected heads are meant to represent big money interests over those of the working citizenry and poor. (I believe it is basically why those powerful $$$ interests generally resist proportional representation electoral systems of governance, the latter which tends to dilute the corporate lobbyist influence on the former.)

        Accordingly, major political decisions will normally foremost reflect what is in big business’s best interests. And don’t expect to hear this fact readily reported by the mainstream news-media, which is concentratedly corporate owned.

        The language that corporate CEOs understand best is, undoubtedly, one of increased consumerism, economic stimulation and profit-margin growth. The usual tradeoff, of course, is their destruction and max-exploitation of laborers, resources, and natural environment.

        Those doubting the powerful persuasion of huge business interests need to consider how high-level elected governing officials can become crippled by implicit or explicit corporate threats to transfer or eliminate jobs and capital investment, thus economic stability, all of which is being made even worse by a blaring news-media naturally critical of incumbent governments.

        Also concerning is that corporate representatives actually write bills for our governing representatives to vote for and have implemented, typically word for word, supposedly to save the elected officials their time.

        President Biden may soon realize this; although he may have learned it long ago but simply considers it ‘the cost of doing business’ politically in a virtual corp-ocracy.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I enjoyed this post but I have to honestly ask, why the political jab at the end? It just shows that politics just has to be in everything, no wonder I abandoned social media and most blogs.
    Even so, I hope you’re doing well.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love the idea of the furniture store being opened and relieved to read he brought in extra toilets and plenty of food It would all be rather fun and jolly meeting some new people – almost a holiday.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Y’know … you’re right! It would likely lead to new friendships and a bit of fun in trying circumstances! Like you, I think Mr. McIngvale went way above and beyond and I applaud what he did, especially bringing in toilets and food at his own expense. See? There really ARE good people out there!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. These are really selfless people, an amazing example of what can be done by the willing.. As John says they have been repeated throughout the state. Joking apart about a certain Senator who preferred to scuttle off to the warmer climes of Cancun, I think it’s worth a mention of two members of the opposition who went out and raised millions of dollars to help the Texans in a desperate state. Money which helped towards helping py for food that was needed. Humanitarian needs override political adherence.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, they have been repeated all ’round in the past 10 days, for I had a tough choice deciding which to feature here. When the chips are down, good people can be found just about everywhere. It restores our faith in humanity, but … why can’t everyone be the same, even when there isn’t a crisis? Sigh. As re Ted … I hope he falls off a steep cliff somewhere.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Great! This is real community. I can feel with them going into cold without a warning. Normally here we are most time “under snow”, but it seems the last years they’d sent it to the USA and also Greece. 😉 Its horrible to deal with coldness and mountains of snow, not prepared for. Thank you for this great story. May they get a warmer summer. Michael

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  6. After better than 15 years spent in Texas collectively and two sons born there, I can say that what is lacking in government and much of the wealthy who live there is made up by the good souls such as Mr McIngvale. We always loved his commercials. “Gallery Furniture will SAVE you MONEY!” 💕💕When Ann Richards was governor it was a different state. I remember how many stepped up after Katrina. Thanks for sharing these good people with us.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I saw the one clip of his advertisement and loved it! Yes, I think Texas and most anywhere, when push comes to shove, people step up to the plate (sorry about the mixed metaphor 😉 ) Thank you, Cheryl! Glad this post helped lift your spirits … at least I hope it did.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Of course you dare say it! Yes, I’m sure in the part of Canada you’re in, it is not at all unusual for neighbor to help neighbor. Sometimes we in this country seem to forget that “We’re all in this together”.


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