How Thomas King and Cesar Saavedra survived Hurricane Harvey
Hurricane Harvey is tied with 2005's Hurricane Katrina as the costliest tropical cyclone on record, inflicting $125 billion in damages. Husbands, fathers and RPS employees Thomas King and Cesar Saavedra were among many who fell victim to the hurricane.
On the final day of the storm, Thomas and his wife watched as water slowly leaked through his front door. Waking up his five children he told everyone to grab a bag of clothes. “By the time we finished getting our clothes the water (had risen) to my shin,” Thomas recalled. He managed to safely navigate through the flood waters, driving over roadblocks and on sidewalks to reach safety at a family members home. After four days he returned to his home only to find it completely destroyed. He and his family would have to start their lives from scratch.
In the aftermath, insurance only gave Thomas $3,600 as compensation for everything he owned. He reached out to the person that sold him the house asking for a grace period for their rent, only to be told that the place Thomas and his family had lived for the last 10 years, would be sold. “We had nothing,” Thomas said. “I took everything that I had in the bank and bought groceries.” He and his family would spend the next several months on air mattresses while Thomas saved money for a new home.
Cesar and his wife had evacuated three days prior to the hurricane, returning to a home in shambles. “I needed to remodel the entire house,” Cesar said. Thousands of dollars of furniture and carpeting were ruined by the fury of the storm.
RPS saw the plight of their employees affected by the storm. Company executives, with the support of RPS’ shareholders, raised funds through GoFundMe to benefit those impacted financially. “Richard helped me out more than the government,” Cesar said. “I had only been working at RPS for a few months and in one day (managers) helped me remove destroyed furniture and carpeting from my home.” With the money Relevant Power put together, Thomas was able to furnish his new home with beds, living and dining room furniture. “Thank you RPS for being there for my family when we had nothing, I’m grateful.”