Written by James Killen
I was at a hurricane Harvey benefit concert last Sunday at the Americana, when Ken Gaines introduced me to a gentleman by the name of Hondo. Generally, in Texas if someone only offers his first name that is enough. Hondo it seems is a music producer and promoter in Austin and had organized a group of Austinites to help Houstonians that had been victims of flooding. The volunteers have been coming and going in shifts as they get spare time and working from a base camp in Spring, Texas just North of town.
Hondo was there to pick up a load of diapers and water that had been donated. I asked him what else they could use and he answered that the crews could use some food at the base camp. Tuesday evening, I dropped by the camp with some fruit, hard boiled eggs and homemade soup as some of the teams were coming back in from a hard day of work.
Hondo thanked me graciously and told me that at any one time there are twenty volunteers in camp. There are two teams of “muckers” going out with sheetrock saws and shovels to clean flooded homes and two teams delivering donated supplies to victims through distribution centers. There is a third team at camp receiving donated items, cooking and cleaning for the crews and working the facebook site to find people in need and coordinate the supplies and services that are being offered to get to them.
Many of the volunteers are musicians. Hondo is active in the Kerrville Folk Festival and the Southwest Regional Folk Alliance so a lot of the volunteers came from those communities. In the evening when the teams get back to camp and get washed and fed, a song circle generally erupts before bed.
As a Houstonian lucky enough to escape the ravages of Harvey, I’d like to thank the volunteers of Austin to Houston Harvey Relief. If you would like to thank them or if you know someone in need, they can be contacted at www.facebook.com/groups/austintohoustonharveyrelief . If you would like to donate that can be done at www.austintohoustonharveyrelief.com . If you want to just learn a little more about Hondo, visit https://m.facebook.com/HondoPresents/ .
These volunteers are giving of their time to get people that want to help in touch with people that need help and enjoy a little music in the mean time.