Mr. Speaker, I rise today to salute another of our Harvey Heroes. I want to recognize Terry Vaughn, district manager of pharmacy and retail operations for 14 Walgreens stores in the Lake Houston area where I live.
As Hurricane Harvey hovered over the Houston area dropping up to 50 inches of rain in some parts, Terry and his Walgreens partners were watching and waiting like most Houstonians. In the wake of the storm, all but one of Terry’s stores closed due to damage or impassable roads.
The only store the Walgreens team could get to was the location on West Lake Houston Parkway and FM 1960—in my neighborhood of Atascocita. Terry lives one mile from the store.
As the San Jacinto River rose and Lake Houston came out of its banks, a fellow team member’s house was flooding so quickly she and her family of six had nowhere to turn. They walked through water to the Atascocita Walgreens where Terry and other volunteers met them with kayaks and transported them to Terry’s home where Mitzi, his bride of 19 years, and their two boys provided the food and shelter the family so badly needed.
The forecasts said this storm would be here for days. Since he could get to the store, Terry decided to open up the Atascocita location.
Terry, three other managers, and Walgreens team members who couldn’t make it to their own stores but still wanted to help, kept our Atascocita location’s doors open through shortages of power and shortages of patience. The one thing they didn’t have a shortage of was dedication to their community.
Terry would wake up each morning, check the water level of Lake Houston to make sure it wasn’t coming closer into his own home, then report for service. Mr. Speaker, during Harvey, Terry’s store was the only continually operating Walgreens this side of the Gulf of Mexico.
He partnered with the City of Humble to deliver life-saving medications to evacuees at the city’s emergency shelter at the Humble Civic Center. He immunized 40 local first responders to protect them from the flood borne diseases of tetanus and Hepatitis A; then took his immunizations on the road setting up first responder clinics at fire and police stations.
Terry and his team immunized more than 1,000 people in two days. Virtually all Lake Houston-area grocery stores were closed due to the flooding.
The stores were filled with water. Distribution trucks could not get to the area.
As the storm damage continued, Terry led a team of Walgreens managers who with their own trucks (Texas trucks with plenty of lift to get through those waters, Mr. Speaker) went to 13 other Walgreens and gathered household supplies, diapers, baby formula, and medical supplies to distribute at the operational Atascocita location. For days Terry kept answering the calls and kept serving.
One of those calls was from United Airlines who had personnel and displaced passengers stuck at George Bush Intercontinental Airport. Terry and his Walgreens team fulfilled an order of more than $30,000 in supplies and delivered it straight to the tarmac.
Was there a bright spot in all this for Terry? He told me, ‘‘Seeing people come together and my team working non-stop without breaks—with their own families going through the worst times—we showed up to help our community and put our own issues aside.’’
Mr. Speaker, those who know Terry know he has a servant’s heart. He is active with the Lake Houston Chamber of Commerce, Boy Scouts, and Humble Area Assistance Ministries.
Terry started with Walgreens as a cashier more than 21 years ago. He has performed every job in the store and worked his way up to be a district manager.
On August 18 as Hurricane Harvey ravaged and flooded our area, he was called upon to once again do every job. And he did.
And he makes us proud to be Texans.