BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Twenty volunteers from Biloxi, Keesler Air Force Base and Iowa fire departments spent the week in the Rockport, Texas area, where there has been little outside help.
Biloxi Fire Department Chief Joe Boney and his wife, Nancy, helped lead the charge. However, stabilizing homes in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey wasn't the group's most valuable offering.
The focus changed from helping first responders, to helping everybody else.
"The coolest part to me was we would go to that first responder's home and the next thing you knew we did five homes on the block," said Nancy Boney.
Their favorite story involved one of the smallest of tasks: repairing a red fence. The family was so afraid of crime that they had relocated their daughter, while they stayed to safe guard the home.
Repairing the fence meant repairing the family.
"So, that little red fence that nobody could help them with put a family whole again," Nancy said. "I mean, there's nothing better than that."
And then, there was another victim who was simply overwhelmed.
"He kept saying, 'I didn't even know where to start. It was such a daunting task, I had nowhere to start, and ya'll came in and got me started,'" Boney said. "What we did opened his mind up to say, 'Hey, I can do this.'"
The Fire House Museum led the fundraising effort that began immediately after Hurricane Harvey hit Texas. The effort raised about $7,000 in cash and materials.
"When somebody comes along and no matter how little it is that they do, that nudge they give you, that hope shines back up again. And you go, 'Oh, that's true. That's right. There is hope," added Nancy.