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Canadian couple to return home after five months of Hurricane Harvey-related volunteer work

Posted: 9:01 PM, Mar 27, 2019
Updated: 2019-03-27 23:11:58-04

Liz and Leroy Plett came to Rockport ready to work in mid-October. Later this week, they’re finally headed home.

“We wouldn’t be where we are today if they had not come in and helped us,” Rockport Hands of Hope Executive Director Cyndi Powell said.

That non-profit group’s trailer in the First Baptist Church of Rockport parking lot is where the Pletts have reported for work the past five months. Powell says their full-time commitment to volunteering has been instrumental in getting hundreds of recovery projects started at homes damaged by Hurricane Harvey.

“That’s a whole other ballgame when you can have volunteers full time,” Powell said.

Sometime after Harvey hit on August 25, 2017, devastating Rockport and many other Texas communities, the Pletts had an epiphany.

“We were on our way home from visiting our daughter in Ontario, and my husband turned to me and said, ‘I think we should help with the hurricane,” Liz Plett said. “And I said, ‘yes, we should.”

They arrived in the late Fall of 2017. For the better part of three months they listened to stories of destruction to property and lives and tried to get recovery money for Harvey-victims.

“There were a lot of tear-jerking stories,” Liz Plett said. “We went home emotionally drained last year.”

Still, they came back this year and immediately noticed differences.

“Last year it was a lot of intake,” Leroy Plett said. “It wasn’t really rebuild. It was more just cleanup. This year it’s really switched to rebuild.”

That’s something Hands of Hope will continue to do even without the Pletts’ help. Powell is hopeful they’ll come back in the fall for a third winter of volunteering.

“You hope that you can get it all done until they come back, which we hope they’ll do next year,” Powell said.