LOCAL Houston | The City Guide October 2017 - Page 51

FOOD | ARTS | COMMUNITY | STYLE+LEISURE Sunday, August 27, Keri Henry and Adam Brackman begin organizing citizen boat rescues. CHAPTER ONE. A MOM TAKES CHARGE By Local Houstonian and Mom Keri Henry When the devastation of Hurricane Harvey began rearing its ugly head, I immediately wanted to do something to help. I started as a one-man-show gathering information from victims and trying to coordinate boat rescues on Sunday (August 27). I started off with a handwritten system of about 20 victims and two boats in the Meyerland, Braeswood and Bellaire neighborhoods. One of the names on my “boater list” was ADAM BRACKMAN of Axelrad Beer Garden. Adam was dispatched to save my good friend’s grandmother, Betty Gorme. From the moment I first spoke with Adam, I knew he was in it for the long haul. With help from another local Houstonian, JENNI REBECCA STEPHENSON (Director at Asia Society Texas), we started using tools such as Facebook (FB) neighbor- hood groups, the Zello app, www.houstonharveyrescue.com, public FB posts, FB messaging, tagging, sharing, etc. These tools helped us connect and share vital information between victims and boat- ers, which enabled ou boaters to jump in and rescue those in need. Adam Brackman and Keri Henry Over the span of three days, we recruited an administrative team from friends offering to help, and my handwritten system turned into a spreadsheet. We then merged with another group led by local attorney Thomas (Tommy) J. Holmes III, and the next thing you know, we had an active Google doc form that was sent to hundreds of people. We received a rescue request or a boat volunteer request every few minutes, over the span of three days – moving from individual addresses, to apartment complexes, to neighborhoods and then expanding to entire cities. In the end, Jenni Rebecca, Adam, Tommy and I were working alongside Cajun Navy members, civilian boaters and law enforcement, and were operating 39 boat teams, each consisting of 1–4 boats per team. Our group also formed a small ground team led by local Houstonians JONATHAN HONEFENGER of Virtuoso Wine and Spirits and LAUREN BARRASH of The Wave Houston, to transport people from boats to shelters. JONATHAN BEITLER of Barrel House Media was my contact for shelters, and then he turned into a vital resource for food donations. Their team at Midtown Kitchen Collective fed thousands of Houstonians. continued 10 . 2017 | L O C A L 51