You Cant Drown The Human Spirit

His Presence

I had a different article planned for this morning but another scan through my Facebook feed proves that anything I write seems rather insignificant in light of the events that have unfolded over the past six days.

Friends from different parts of the country have reached out to ask how our family is doing. Asking if we need any help. And while the sentiments are extremely kind, it’s not me I am concerned about. I am sitting at my kitchen table, with a cup of coffee, inside a dry, air conditioned home.

Our friends in Houston, southeast Texas and along the coast are the ones that need our hope, our help and our prayers.

I cannot begin to imagine what it must be like to have your entire world washed away in the blink of an eye.

I had lunch with a friend yesterday and he was telling me about how his parents had to be rescued at 2am and were currently sitting on the side of I-10 somewhere, waiting ….. waiting for what, he wasn’t sure yet.

The pictures, the stories and the pleas shared by friends and friends of friends in the area are simply gut-wrenching.

So many have lost everything.

They are calling Hurricane Harvey the worst rain event in United States history. A 1000-year flood. The stalled out storm dumped 21 trillion gallons of water over the region — nearly 3.5x the volume of Hurricane Katrina.

Check out this crazy six-day loop from satellite imagery.

But in and out of such tragedy, you almost always find the best of human spirit. The resilience. The will to fight. The heroism.

Perhaps you’ve seen the viral videos . . . fleets of personal boats, lined up for miles on the side of the road, ready to aid with the evacuation efforts. Or the long lines of people IN Houston waiting to volunteer to help hurricane victims.

Humans helping humans.

Perhaps you’ve seen athletes rallying to raise money . . . like JJ Watt, of the Houston Texans, whose original goal of $200K was blown out of the water. At last count, over $1o million had been donated. Or Beaumont native Jay Bruce, of the Cleveland Indians, who pledged to match up to $100K to help his hometown wade out of the destruction.

Texans helping Texans.

But even beyond that, I’ve been fortunate to witness this same type of spirit, in my own backyard. Austinites helping other Austinites. Growing and strengthening the chain of inspiration.

Take for instance my friend John Hay who along with 84 others has raised over $25,000 in 72 hours — to benefit the Red Cross. Ditto for the folks at Camp Gladiator who are selling t-shirts to aid the same cause. Then there are folks like Cord Shiflet, who along with friends and family has filled four large Uhaul trucks, delivering supplies to the Houston area and relief shelters here in Austin.

Every little bit of effort counts.

Not all of us have a boat to lend and few of us have the resources of a pro athlete. But I believe that all of us share the same will to fight.

To help. To contribute.

Big or small, every donation makes a difference.

And to that point, we have an additional funds by way of our Third Pillar Impact fund— from Wednesday’s closing — that I would like to contribute to someone or to some cause that truly needs it.

If you know of a family that has been displaced, lost everything and needs a hand up, please shoot me a response and let me know.

I’d love to help.

Photo Credit: the image above was posted on Facebook by John Hay, who owns a home in Rockport. The caption read: “I took this from my pier the night before #harvey hit while taking a break from boarding up the house. Sunset over beautiful Copano Bay. Piers are gone now but the beauty of nature and His creation endures.”

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Ryan France

Ryan France is a native of Austin Texas, father of two, super-early riser, avid reader, admitted podcast junkie & bulletproof coffee addict. In a past life, France was an aspiring professional baseball player. Today, Ryan is an entrepreneur, author and relentless innovator of the real estate industry. Read more on the "Who is Ryan?" page.