The desire to help Texans affected by Hurricane Harvey prompted Bartholomew County residents young and old to lend a hand by donating items or money that could be of assistance.
A steady stream of residents dropped off donations between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday at Clifford Volunteer Fire Department, former Bartholomew County Coroner Larry Fisher said.
One young boy even donated the $2.07 he had in his piggy bank.
“He said, ‘Mr. Fisher, I want that to go to Texas.’ That made the whole thing worthwhile,” Fisher said.
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Fisher has been working with the Jefferson County (Texas) Justice of the Peace Ray Chesson to aid residents of Fannett, Hamshire and Winnie, small communities all located southwest of Beaumont.
He secured the use of a semi-trailer from West Trucking and a pickup truck and driver from Grammer Industries.
Earl Bondtrager also provided a forklift and pallet jack to get skids of supplies into the trailer, said Bartholomew County Coroner Clayton Nolting, who volunteered for a few hours in the afternoon.
Members of local fire departments — Columbus, Southwest, Clay, Harrison, Hartsville and Columbus Township — and some police officers pitched in to help, Fisher and Nolting said.
“Everyone helped in their own way. I think that’s what makes Columbus and Bartholomew County unique,” Nolting said.
Residents donated bags and totes full of clothes, Nolting noted.
Others donated non-perishable food, diapers, baby wipes, sanitizing liquid, cleaning supplies, rakes, shovels, fans, air compressors and dehumidifiers, Fisher said.
“They came with U-Haul trailers and trucks, and people would come to the (Clifford Volunteer Fire Department’s) fish fry and bring sacks of things. And then they would go back to town and come back with more. It was just a fantastic turnout,” Fisher said.
One person even donated $1,000, Fisher said, which was used to buy two skids of plywood and drywall.
Local contributions also resulted in a skid of bleach collected to ship to Texas, Fisher added.
The driver hauling the supplies left Clifford on Sunday afternoon and is expected to reach his destination this afternoon.
While the focus of Saturday was helping Texans affected by Hurricane Harvey, Fisher said discussions have already started about helping Florida residents. The state is bracing for significant damage from Hurricane Irma.
“We’d pick a smaller community like we did with Texas,” Fisher said.