Sept. 11–PINE ISLAND — Larry Kautz knows firsthand how Hurricane Harvey created a swath of devastation through Texas.
The longtime Pine Island truck driver was delivering a load of generators to the Northern Tool store in Beaumont, Texas, amid the flooding left in the wake of Harvey on Aug. 31. He was told the roads were clear, but it didn’t turn out that way.
“It was horrible. I drove through three feet of water to get to my destination. I couldn’t turn around, once I started in,” he remembers. “I wouldn’t do it again.”
The final 60 miles of that trip took three hours. Now, Kautz making the trip again, but with two truckloads of water and other donated supplies for the struggling city of Beaumont. The city, with the same population as Rochester, is still boiling all drinking water almost two weeks after the hurricane.
He loaded up two of his 53-foot Kautz Trucking trailers at the Bevcomm facility during the weekend, and then hit the road this morning. The plan is to deliver the goods to one of Beaumont’s Baptist churches to distribute to people in need.
“I’ve seen it firsthand. I know how bad it is. They need all the help they can get,” Kautz said.
And it’s not just Kautz who wants to help. Individuals and businesses throughout the region have contributed water, cleaning supplies and clothing for the people of Beaumont. That includes many of Kautz’s contacts in the trucking industry, like Yaggy Trucking in Rochester and Funk Trucking in Chatfield.
“Everybody has been fantastic. Everybody has been so generous,” he said.
This is not the first time he’s hauled help southward. In 2005, Kautz made a similar trip to Louisiana, after Hurricane Katrina.
“I just want to help people out,” said Kautz.
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