Parker County Today October 2017 - Page 69

our stories: WARRING WITH HARVEY Fearless. BY J.D. EGGLESTON Storm Chasers Bill and Danielle Ford Charge into Chaos T The tremendous response was greater than any Bill and Danielle had ever seen, after any other storm — and it was all by the people, business- es and churches of Parker County. On Aug. 23, 2017, Tropical Storm Harvey began to strengthen in the Caribbean, making its way into the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico with a direct target of the Texas coastline. Harvey was projected to make landfall a couple of days later as a Category 4 Hurricane with sustained winds of 130 miles per hour. As the world watched the pend- ing storm and thousands evacuated their homes and businesses, Parker County citizens, churches and the Storm Warriors were already gearing up to respond. The Storm Warriors were about to embark on their most are storm chasers, but not your typi- cal adrenaline junkies. They don’t follow and report from a distance on extreme weather occurrences. They lead a team committed to the task they pursue in every storm. It’s called “W.A.R.” – Warn, Assist, Restore. Their team, named Storm Warriors, is based here, in Parker County. Clearly, to be a Storm Warrior, one must have one essential charac- teristic — a warrior’s heart. Despite years of experience, training and venturing into violent weather systems and their aftermaths, the Storm Warriors charged into Hurricane Harvey and were exposed to more human loss, extreme and sudden need, desperation, hunger, and chaos than in any of their prior storm chasing missions. his wasn’t the first time Bill and Danielle Ford had ventured into a storm. They’ve faced devastation, flooding and terrifyingly dangerous weather events so many times they’ve almost lost count. “We actually took a trailer full of supplies down,” Bill Ford said. “We snuck in behind the hurricane and ended up in Aransas Pass where there was great need and a lot of destruc- tion. There were a lot of families there that had absolutely nothing left. We got there at the right time.” “Sneaking in” behind a monster hurricane like Harvey is not for the faint of heart. What kind of people do that? Clearly the Fords have uncom- mon courage and powerful motiva- tion. You see, Bill and Danielle Ford 67