Resort Committed To Helping With Houston Recovery

OCEAN CITY — Ocean City has vowed to lend assistance to the storm-ravaged Houston area during its likely years-long recovery.

Ocean City Emergency Services Director Joe Theobald and other city officials this week are putting together a plan to assist the storm-ravaged Houston area, even as the powerful Hurricane Irma threatens the entire east coast. Theobald and others along with state officials are preparing personnel to eventually help with the recovery efforts in Texas if needed.

“We are currently putting together a request for volunteers to assist Houston and the surrounding areas in the wake of Hurrican Harvey,” said Theobald. “We work closely with the state and officials at the Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) to coordinate assistance where it is most needed. It is important to remember that recovery in these areas will last months if not years, and we are preparing to help them as much as possible.”

In the meantime, the town is lending support to the charitable agencies in the affected areas and urged local residents to do the same.

“It is completely unimaginable to see the widespread devastation in Texas,” said Mayor Rick Meehan. “It is heart wrenching to see the photographs and read the stories of victims and aside from offering our prayers to the victims and first responders, we are also working on ways to provide assistance that will offer an immediate and effective impact.”

Meehan pointed out while the immediate impact on the Texas coast from Hurricane Harvey was subsiding, the need for assistance was more acute than ever as the long recovery process begins.

“I know it’s been a week or so, but we don’t want to forget as a beach community and a community susceptible to storms the people in the Houston area and all over Texas that have suffered this horrific event,” Meehan said on Tuesday. “The Town of Ocean City is preparing to send assistance to the area when they reach the recovery stage of this process. It’s going to take three to five years for them to recover from this storm.”

Meehan agreed with Theobald the Town of Ocean City would take some direction from MEMA on how best to assist the Houston area.

“We will follow their lead when they decide it’s time to send resources and personnel there that have the particular ability to assist in the recovery,” he said. “We are a hurricane area ourselves and we’re closely watching Hurricane Irma right now. We have to make sure we have people here, but when that passes, we’ll be doing what we can to assist.”

About The Author: Shawn Soper

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Shawn Soper has been with The Dispatch since 2000. He began as a staff writer covering various local government beats and general stories. His current positions include managing editor and sports editor. Growing up in Baltimore before moving to Ocean City full time three decades ago, Soper graduated from Loch Raven High School in 1981 and from Towson University in 1985 with degrees in mass communications with a journalism concentration and history.