As the National Guard unloads donations brought in by volunteers who drove from Crane, Texas, it’s easy to call those volunteers heroes that are helping in time of crisis.
However, Sheila Pahl and Rosemary Cavazos, who were in charge of the operation in Sealy, refuse to call themselves that.
“We’re not the heroes, these people are right here,” Cavazos said, gesturing to the National Guardsmen working behind them. “We’re just Rosemary and Sheila.”
It elicited a laugh from Pahl and it was clear the two truly believed they were just playing their part in helping the local community recover. It was a big part at that.
The duo was accompanied with members of the Crane Fire Department, Crane County Sheriff’s Department and Crane residents. The volunteers left Crane in the early morning hours of Sept. 2 and arrived at the Knights of Columbus Hall in Sealy at 4 p.m.
The group had multiple trailers attached to their trucks that contained donations from Odessa, Crane and Lubbock, pre-prepared meals for those still living in KC Hall and supplies like baby products.
Cavazos said the donations didn’t even stop during their trek to Sealy.
“We were at a rest stop and a man asked if we were heading to the Houston area and I said yes, so he immediately goes to his truck and gives us the pack of water he had in his trunk,” Cavazos said.
The entire process began the week before when Cavazos and Pahl felt the need to cook for someone.
“We were going to feed someone, even if it was one or a thousand,” Cavazos said.
The first time the group helped a community after a disaster was when Pahl’s daughter was attending Oklahoma State in Stillwater and the area was ravaged by tornadoes. After that, Pahl said they realized the impact they can have on those in need.
After Harvey hit, Cavazos, a trustee with the Crane ISD school board, called Crane’s superintendent who then directed her to the Sealy area through a former student of his.
“We wanted to go somewhere smaller rather than Houston so we didn’t have to go through FEMA, Red Cross and all those channels,” Cavazos said.
The group going to Sealy was only one of what amounted to a small army of volunteers from Crane. Groups also went to Beaumont, Rockport, La Grange and other areas.
The Sealy group had pre-made pasta for the National Guard and evacuees who were still staying in KC Hall along with green beans, corn and other food. The volunteers then stayed the night at KC Hall and cooked breakfast for the two groups.
“It’s just people coming together and in times like this, that’s what you need,” Cavazos said. “If there’s one thing I want people to know, it’s that this would have been impossible to do without the generosity of the people in Crane and Odessa and really all over Texas.”