Impact of Hurricane Laura on Cameron, Louisiana. (Photo: Bill Feig/The Advocate via AP)
Natural disasters leave injury and property damage in their wake. Having experienced something so thoroughly devastating first hand changes a person, and it sometimes leads to a stronger desire to lend others a helping hand. That’s one reason FSR Services in Humble, Texas, doesn’t shy away from hurricane aid efforts even when it’s a state away.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey in 2017, company leadership and employees got involved in rescuing people from high-water threats. The company’s own recovery meant sharing the upstairs floor of a building for over a year after Harvey had flooded its offices.
Things were different, though, three years later with Hurricane Laura because none of the company’s assets or employees were directly impacted. That meant the team of more than 20 people was available to respond to customer needs while offering assistance with disaster relief two hours away in Lake Charles, Louisiana.
Help for the Hardest Hit
Hurricane Laura struck with 150 mph winds, hitting communities in the Lake Charles area the hardest of any coastal communities. The winds brought a 15-foot storm surge and set up the conditions that claimed at least 28 lives in the community of 80,000. The storm caused power outages for almost three weeks, hampering their efforts to deal with the destruction.
“It is hard when your hometown is hurting, and since we have been through that, we wanted to extend the offer to help those in Louisiana,” said Jessica Eslinger, operations manager at FSR.
The company’s relief efforts began with helping friends stranded away from their Lake Charles home. FSR President Steve Seibert said he had offered to take them, their luggage, and some basic supplies back home. FSR employees filled up two pickup trucks with supplies, took the family to their house, and temporarily repaired their half-demolished roof.
Having witnessed the destruction first hand, the people at FSR also extended goodwill throughout the community. They planned to go to houses and offer help. While, according to Seibert, his company often sees others out to take advantage when disasters strike, FSR strives instead to be more than a roofing company and treats customers like family.
Communities Helping Communities
Beginning with people they knew, company employees fanned out door-to-door offering to help with insurance and roofing needs. Back at the main office, team members acted quickly to secure tarps and building materials. People then loaded and hauled all available supplies to Lake Charles.
Neighbors, friends, and FSR customers donated diapers, formula, water, coloring books, crayons, pet food and essential toiletries. The company also raised $19,000 in materials for repairing and replacing damage to structures.
Seibert said that the organization always looks for opportunities to help people in need, explaining it’s part of the company’s culture and core values.
“Roofing is what we know but it starts with building relationships,” Seibert said. “We have the resources of a corporation with the feel of a local business and we want to be there for our communities during hard times. We understand the past few years Texas and Louisiana have endured storms and hardship, but through it I have seen my team come together for our community and make a difference. It has not always been easy, but definitely rewarding.”