Houston City Council Member Dave Martin has faced many challenges during his tenure serving the residents of Houston Council District E but none as seemingly insurmountable as Hurricane Harvey and its aftermath,
Harvey slammed into Houston Monday, Aug. 25, and dumped 27-35 inches of rain over Harris County, with multiple stormwater gages registering seven-day readings of more than 40 inches and a maximum of 49.56 inches near Clear Creek at Interstate 45.
As the rain began, and then the news became more serious, Martin realized he and his staff were in for a battle.
"It's beyond belief," Martin said of the raging floods that destroyed millions in property and homes and forced the evacuation of thousands of Kingwood residents from their residences.
Martin credited his chief of staff, Jessica Beemer, for organizing immediate relief.
"Jessica did not get help from either the county or the Red Cross, so she called Humble ISD and quickly got Kingwood High School set up as a temporary shelter," he said.
Kingwood High School became unusable within hours as flood waters poured in so her next call went to Dr. Katherine Persson, president of Lone Star College-Kingwood. The gym was chosen as the new temporary site but it too flooded within hours.
Creekwood Middle School then became the Kingwood temporary shelter.
Martin spent Tuesday assisting with rescues and coordinating information. Beemer's own home was flooded and she had to seek another temporary residence herself. Martin's home also had flood water inside.
"Jessica's a super duper star. She not only was working on Kingwood, but on South Belt and Clear Lake. And balancing it all as she lost her home and car," he said.
"We have just had tremendous support. I have had hundreds of offers to help. People are seeking ways to donate, to volunteer. It's a wonderful community," he said.
"It has been depressing at times, overwhelming, but also very rewarding.
I was in New Orleans after Katrina. Katrina was a walk in the park compared to this."
Martin also credits Humble ISD and the superintendent for crucial help.
"I have to give huge credit to Dr. Fagen with Humble ISD. She has not stopped and never said 'No' to anything asked of her," he said.
Martin also gives thanks for Kroger and HEB, saying that both grocery stores told him to come in and take whatever was needed by the responders, saying they both approved 'legal looting' - if there is such a thing, he joked.
By Wednesday, Martin was breathing relief.
"We're going in the opposite direction now. We will get the contractors in here. We will pull up carpet and take down drywall. We are nearly through with evacuations. We haven't lost any lives in Kingwood.
"We came together as a community facing the worse thing that has ever happened here.
We will get through this and we will be better than before."