COLUMBIA – Many Missourians are stepping up to help victims of Hurricane Harvey, which is devastating the gulf of Texas.
Lake of the Ozarks residents Denice Halley and Tiffany Rudolph are volunteer nurses through a private non-profit organization. They’re both volunteering at a medical shelter in Texas.
Halley said the experience has been overwhelming.
“You don’t know what it’s like until you actually see someone in person and see the look on their faces when they describe how they’ve lost everything that they have,” she said.
She and Rudolph were initially going to be there for five days, but their stay is now being extending to two months.
"It’s been quite an experience for both of us,” Halley said.
Numbers at the medical shelter started out small, with only 10 to 12 people, but now 650 are expected.
“They say that’s kind of how it goes,” Halley said. “Initially with the medical shelters and everything, it takes time for everything to get to us and it takes time to get people where they need to go.”
She said she’s seen people come in with nothing but the clothes on their backs.
“It is disheartening, because a lot of them will want things like a razor. They provide basic shampoo, toothbrush things like that, but I’ve got a couple of gentleman who needed to shave,” Halley said.
Despite the difficulties, Halley said the experience has its benefits.
“It’s also very rewarding to be able to be that person to make them understand how amazing it is that they came out of that experience alive,” Halley said.
Jefferson City resident Jerry Greer is also doing what he can to help, setting up a GoFundMe campaign for a fitness coach who inspires him.
Greer joined a Facebook group called, “Team Motivates” about a year ago. The group is a fitness-based motivational group for people interested in bodybuilding. The group's owner, Gabe Espinoza is a victim of Hurricane Harvey.
After seeing the Facebook videos of storm damage that Espinoza posted on Facebook, Greer said he felt like he had to do something.
"Before our shows, he encourages us, he's always pumping us up on the group, so it was important to me to give back," Greer said.
Greer started the Go FundMe on Sunday and, as of Tuesday night, it had raised $2,310 of its $5,000 goal.