SmokeSignals Logo Large

        digitaledition3

Harvey Beamont 2

Truck with supplies leaves

Locals head to Texas to keep 911 running in wake of Harvey

“Nobody cared about anything but helping people. That’s what America’s supposed to be.”

By Denise Ray, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

When Matt Richardson, owner of Amicalola Propane, and driver Casey Rickett, left Dawsonville on August 24, they had no idea of the dangerous driving conditions and severe weather they would face. When they get “the call” it typically comes after a natural disaster, not before.

“We drive our [Amicalola Propane] trucks to wherever the storms hit and keep 911 going,” Richardson said. “We work on cell towers and volunteer disaster relief. Without cell towers, there are no calls for help.”

 Harvey Beaumont 4
 

Water levels in Houston.

When electricity is out, cell towers run off propane-powered generators which propane companies are paid to keep towers running, enabling emergency services to communicate. This time the call came at 3 p.m. and, after the Department of Homeland Security stepped in to override regulations prohibiting interstate hauling of propane. Within two hours, the pair was on their way driving into Hurricane Harvey.

“It’s a rough job,” Richardson added. “It’s a dangerous job.”

Harvey  Beaumont 1

Sign in front of Amicalola Propane requesting donations for Beaumont, Tex.

Richardson and Rickett stayed for a week, also checking cell towers in Louisiana and Mississippi, often eating cold, canned foods. They leave together but separate once they get cell tower locations and begin the difficult task of keeping the towers running, despite rising water, flooded streets and dangerous winds, according to Rickett. In this instance, the duo reunited several days later in Crosby, just before the chemical plant explosion.

The toughest part, according to both men is missing family.

“My wife Kristin, is the true hero,” Richardson added. “She gets the kids on the bus, runs the company, gets the kids off the bus and takes one to soccer and the other to volleyball. I can hear it in her voice. It’s hard on her.”

Rickett agreed. “I left my wife Ashley and daughter, Addy,” he said.

This trip turned personal for Richardson, having friends in Beaumont that are basically homeless now. Their homes are under water and most of them are at work, helping others, according to Richardson.

“Beaumont needs help,” he said, his voice getting serious. “It’s heartbreaking. My friends are displaced. They don’t have drinking water.”

Harvey Beaumont 3

Casey Rickett shows where the water reached his truck in Houston. A tape measure showed
the height to be 52 inches. “I’ve never seen anything like it,” Rickett said. PHOTO BY
DENISE RAY

The frustration comes through as the tall Griffin native continued. “They have nothing,” he said.

Employees of Amicalola Propane, along with several other local businesses worked to gather donations of bottled water and additional supplies. The effort has hit social media and even has its own hashtag, #BottlesForBeaumont.

Stand and Hammer Cycling Company, a Cumming-based clothing operation, is selling “deep in the heart” t-shirts benefiting the small Texas town through its website www.standandhammer.com.

Rickett encourages people to help anyway they can. “Simply pray for them,” he said. “All this racism and stuff,” he said. “When all the water was coming, nobody cared about racism, nobody cared about anything but helping people. That’s what America’s supposed to be.”

As far as his customers, Richardson asks for patience.

“Please be patient,” he asked. “We’re working as hard as we can and as fast as we can to process orders.”

Richardson and Rickett have since gone to Florida and Coastal Georgia in anticipation of Hurricane Irma.

Save

Save

Newest Stories - News

Reinhardt Chamber Singers to perform in Italy

Reinhardt Chamber Singers to perform in Italy The Reinhardt University Chamber Singers are planning a trip...

Holy Family presents 12th annual Nine Lessons

Holy Family presents 12th annual Nine Lessons The Episcopal Church of the Holy Family presents the...

Dawsonville Incumbents Voted Out

Dawsonville incumbents voted out The Dawsonville City Council will have two new members come January 2018.

North Georgia Veterans commemorate Veterans Day

North Georgia Veterans commemorate Veterans Day The Veterans Day observance Saturday, Nov. 11 in The Big...

Sgt. Maj. Kerry Dyer of the University of North Georgia…

Sgt. Maj. Kerry Dyer of the University of North Georgia spoke at the NGV annual...

We did it: the journey of a lifetime

We did it: the journey of a lifetime The Susan G. Komen Three-Day walk, held October...

2018 POA budget adds marketing director, anticipates legal fees

2018 POA budget adds marketing director, anticipates legal fees The POA Board of Directors passed the...

Join the North Georgia Vets on Veterans Day

Join the North Georgia Vets on Veterans Day The North Georgia Veterans, assisted by the Big...

Don’t miss Jasper Farmers Market’s last 3 Saturdays in 2017

Don’t miss Jasper Farmers Market’s last 3 Saturdays in 2017 Pickens County folks have three more...

Lieutenant Governor Cagle says we must prepare for a fast-growing…

Lieutenant Governor Cagle says we must prepare for a fast-growing Georgia Georgia is going to gain...

Jasper native comes back to Bent Tree as GM

Jasper native comes back to Bent Tree as GM Jasper native Tom Fowler has been in...

Dawson Senior Center volunteers recognized

Dawson Senior Center volunteers recognized Dawson County Senior Services gave thanks to its volunteers during a...

Knowledge Series needs advisory board members

Knowledge Series needs advisory board members Big Canoe’s Knowledge Series has several advisory board positions to...

Council encouraged to consider city police force

Council encouraged to consider city police force The Dawsonville City Council heard a recommendation for a...

Forced landing at AMP

Forced landing at AMP A single engine plane made an emergency landing Monday, Oct. 30 at...

Advertisement

Advertisement

SmokeSignals Online
11293 Big Canoe
Big Canoe, GA 30143
PH: 770-893-1594

©2017 Big Canoe News