By Laquita Dettman
In August 2017 on the western coast of Africa, an innocuous tropical wave formed and wandered out into the open Atlantic Ocean. What became a tropical depression entered the Gulf of Mexico nine days later. In fewer than 48 hours, that tropical depression exploded into a Category 4 hurricane with Texas set firmly in its crosshairs. America watched helplessly on Aug. 25 while under the cover of darkness, Hurricane Harvey slammed into the Texas coast with wind speeds of 130 miles per hour and, in some areas, a storm surge as high as 12 feet. Over the following days, Harvey hovered over Texas, dumping 51 inches of torrential rain onto the Houston area, resulting in disastrous flooding. In every way, Hurricane Harvey lived up to its forecast of a catastrophic storm.
It’s hard to imagine what those on the coast must have suffered over those days and the following weeks and months. While we saw the images on the news and heard accounts of devastation, most of us didn’t live it. Yet tens of thousands of Texans most certainly did.
Harvey was big, and in one way or another, all of us felt small. What difference could we make in the face of such overwhelming disaster?
The Texas Court Reporters Association (TCRA), recognizing the immediate need of our fellow reporters of south Texas, set up a GoFundMe account and at the board of directors meeting in September created the disaster relief task force. The task force was charged with collecting and distributing funds so that those who needed assistance could realize it swiftly.
Whether they were Texans or not, TCRA members or otherwise, court reporters answered the call by giving of their resources generously, including donations from reporters in areas as remote as New York City. Those of us serving on the TCRA Board, while not surprised, were humbled to be reminded that we’re members of a greater court reporting community that recognizes no state boundaries and represents a culture of character and compassion.
At final tally, donations to TCRA’s disaster relief effort totaled over $16,000. Eleven applicants requested assistance, their needs and names held in strict confidence by the task force out of respect for the applicants’ privacy, and the funds were equally distributed among them. As soon as the checks went out, heartfelt gratitude to the task force poured in. Its purpose met, the task force was dissolved at the November meeting of the Board of Directors.
To the task force members — Lorrie Schnoor, RDR, CRR; Sonia Trevino; Cathy Busa, RPR; Kathleen Ullrich, RPR, CRC; and Linda Kaiser, RMR, CRR — TCRA thanks you for a job well done. To those who contributed to the court reporters of south Texas, whether through your thoughts and prayers, your financial contributions, or both, you made a difference. Thank you. To those of you who were impacted by Hurricane Harvey, thank you for reminding us that tough times don’t last; tough people do. We hope your struggle is eased and that you’re well on your way to complete restoration. Know that you are in our continued thoughts and prayers.
Finally, to those of you nationwide who make up this fine court reporting family and fill us with pride, thank you — with love from TCRA.
Laquita Dettman is an official reporter in Midland, Texas. She can be reached at email@example.com.
A similar article was originally published in TCRA Today on Dec. 19, 2017.