4/06/2018 Peter Durantine

F&M Students Assist with Hurricane Rebuilding in Texas

Over Franklin & Marshall’s spring break, March 10-17, a group of students with the College’s Catastrophic Relief Alliance traveled to the Texas town of Katy, about 30 miles west of Houston to assist with rebuilding after last year’s devastating flooding from Hurricane Harvey.

“For most hurricane projects, we've hung sheetrock,” said Andy Gulati, associate librarian for the sciences and CRA adviser who accompanied the 13 students. “This time, we did the real elbow work of taping, mudding, sanding, mudding, sanding, and even more sanding.”

F&M President Daniel R. Porterfield funded most of this trip, which allowed CRA to make two trips in one year, Gulati said. The group replaced tornado damaged roofs in Oklahoma last January. In Katy, the students also met with two Gulf Coast alumni chapter members, Lisa Brooks '85 and Jess Yoburn '02, who endowed CRA.

The work in the Houston area was indirectly related to the hurricane. During the storm. the Army Corps of Engineers released the Addicks and Barker reservoirs, inundating the Buffalo Bayou downstream and thousands of houses, Gulati said. 

“The resultant flooding caused housing values to plummet, forcing many homeowners to walk away from their homes,” Gulati said. “The aim of our host organization, Harvey Housing Recovery Project, and many other fine rebuilding groups, is to keep people in their homes. CRA was happy to do our part."

Here’s a photo essay showing some of their work:

  • The water tower in Katy, Texas, greets the students. The water tower in Katy, Texas, greets the students. Image Credit: Andy Gulati
  • The group takes a lunch break. The group takes a lunch break. Image Credit: Andy Gulati
  • Kaitlin Dao, a junior, handles a drill. Kaitlin Dao, a junior, handles a drill. Image Credit: Andy Gulati
  • Juniors Kate Myers and Gabe Pimsler team up on a wall. Juniors Kate Myers and Gabe Pimsler team up on a wall. Image Credit: Andy Gulati
  • Soprina Guarneri, a junior, applies sheetrock mud to a column. Soprina Guarneri, a junior, applies sheetrock mud to a column. Image Credit: Andy Gulati
  • Sophomore Ahmed Barakat takes on a garage wall. Sophomore Ahmed Barakat takes on a garage wall. Image Credit: Andy Gulati
  • Tyler Donaghy,a junior, makes friends with a gecko. Tyler Donaghy,a junior, makes friends with a gecko. Image Credit: Andy Gulati
  • Sophomore Lydia Wolfe, first-year Ahnyia Sanders and junior Kaitlin Dao with workgroup leader Daniel. Sophomore Lydia Wolfe, first-year Ahnyia Sanders and junior Kaitlin Dao with workgroup leader Daniel. Image Credit: Andy Gulati
  • Ahnyia Sanders, first year, and Kaitlin Dao, junior, strike a pose while retired F&M staffer Jeff Groff clowns in the background. Ahnyia Sanders, first year, and Kaitlin Dao, junior, strike a pose while retired F&M staffer Jeff Groff clowns in the background. Image Credit: Andy Gulati
  • Junior Tyler Donaghy makes burgers and fries at the grill for (left to right) junior Soprina Guarneri, senior Karolina Heleno, junior Gabe Pimsler, junior Kate Myers, and senior Julie Byun. Junior Tyler Donaghy makes burgers and fries at the grill for (left to right) junior Soprina Guarneri, senior Karolina Heleno, junior Gabe Pimsler, junior Kate Myers, and senior Julie Byun. Image Credit: Andy Gulati
  • Sophomore Lydia Wolfe, first-year Ahnyia Sanders, Dennis, the homeowner, and sophomore Rachel Sheffield. Sophomore Lydia Wolfe, first-year Ahnyia Sanders, Dennis, the homeowner, and sophomore Rachel Sheffield. Image Credit: Andy Gulati
  • Julie Byun, a senior, and Ahmed Barakat, a sophomore, share a moment. Julie Byun, a senior, and Ahmed Barakat, a sophomore, share a moment. Image Credit: Ahnyia Sanders
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