Bonham ISD staffers return from helping Harvey victims

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BONHAM, Tex. (KXII) -- Some Bonham ISD staffers just got back from helping West-Orange Cove, a school district affected by Harvey in Orange, Texas.

"It looked like a warzone," said superintendent Dr. Marvin Beaty.

The group left on Sunday and returned Wednesday.

Wearing masks to protect from mold, they cleaned out the freezer of a high school, that lost power during the storm, cleaned out a house and gutted two others.

"Physical labor - I have not worked that hard in a long time," Beaty said laughing.

"None of the people we helped had flood insurance," said I.W. Evans Intermediate School Principal Karli Fowler. "They had taken most of their contents out, but it was time to then take the dry wall out, the carpet out, the pads under the carpet, counters had to go."

Everything was destroyed, forced to be trashed and left on the street.

"They spent their whole life amassing these possessions that were priceless to them and in one day its gone," said Beaty.

The group took a trailer full of donated pre-packaged school supplies, water and other donations from local businesses.

They drove more than an hour from their hotel and an hour back each day, but they say it was all worth it.

"It was a very humbling experience because the people were so grateful," said Fowler.

"Everybody hustled the entire time, all you had to do was look around. There was no feeling sorry for yourself," said Beaty.

He said in helping them, they grew as a team.

"My team is stronger because we went."

"It was a great team building experience but to me, more importantly, it was the right thing to do," said Fowler.

Bonham ISD also helped another school district, Colombia-Brazoria ISD, by raising more than $16,000 among the campuses.

The money is currently on its way to their education foundation.

"It will go to their education foundation so that they can disperse the money freely as each principal sees fit," said Beaty. "If we ever have trouble, I have every confidence they're going to come help us."

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