The Baytown Chamber Today –
Tracey S. Wheeler, IOM, President & CEO
Wow, Baytown has had a really rough time the last few weeks. Hurricane Harvey came storming in the last week of August, and we didn’t float out until Labor Day. Our businesses seem to have survived the storm quite well but our industry and residential neighbors did not fare as well. It makes us all proud to see the “neighbors helping neighbors” that we experienced after this storm. Churches opened their doors to those that were flooded out of their homes and our restaurants provided food for shelters and first responders. Our city government did an outstanding job in ensuring the safety of our community during a very difficult time. Some of the names being passed around are Texas Roadhouse, Chick-fil-A, Kroger Market, HEB, Salata, Panera Bread – all providing food during the storm. I am sure that there are many others but these are just a few of the ones I heard from.
I have lived in Baytown for many years and have never known the Bayou to come over its banks the way it did. The neighborhoods on the east side of our community and our neighboring Mont Belvieu suffered greatly and will take months to recover. In addition, Chevron Phillips will be many months recovering. We wish them all the best and will continue to assist in any way possible.
As we get back to some sense of normal, it was GREAT for the kids to get back to school. It helps them to develop a schedule and a feeling of security. Many of our children experienced being displaced from their homes, and even though floating out in a boat or in some cases an inflatable mattress can be an adventure, it was also scary for many of them. Our school district made a good call giving us another week to recover prior to opening school.
All of this makes me proud to be a Baytonian. We are known for our volunteerism and charitable giving, and we have certainly proved it this last few weeks. Our hats are off to each of you who has helped clean out wet houses; donated cleaning supplies, food and other necessities; worked in one of the many shelters; washed clothes full of flood water; cooked hot meals for those volunteering; raised money for first responders who lost their homes while rescuing others; and so much more. Get to know your neighbors – you may need them one day.
Through all of this, the Baytown Chamber was here with information – who to call for whatever. We also assisted with volunteers, food, information on FEMA and SBA, help with transportation issues, what businesses were open when, and much more. We had a member who provided money to purchase boots for first responders who were wearing wet, (inside and out), boots. We were able to locate 50 pairs of boots and deliver them. Thanks to Mike Wilson of Texas First Bank and our anonymous donor for helping with that project.
The chamber is getting ready for our Baytown Business EXPO to be held on Thursday, October 5th at the Baytown Community Center. We will also host the Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick at our Membership Meeting on October 24th. The event entitled “The State of the State” will be held at the new Hilton Garden Inn. Please let us know if you have an interest. Following that event, we will honor our first responders at the Public Safety Recognition Luncheon on Tuesday, November 14th. That is the time that we name a Law Enforcement Officer of the Year, Fire Fighter of the Year and Constable Deputy of the Year. We would love to have you join us at any of these events.