Mother Nature Vs. Fort Bend – and Fort Bend is Winning

There are no greater examples of Fort Bend Strong than when Mother Nature strikes with a force beyond experience and comprehension.  We get hit by hurricanes. Usually they roar in, hit us and leave in 24 hours. Hurricane Ike did just that.  On September 13th, 2008, Ike hit us with brutal fury. Ike came ashore around 2 am.  By 2 pm, Ike was gone, the sun reappeared and everyone in Fort Bend joined together to recover. We were Fort Bend Strong!

Pete Olson donating much-needed blood post Winter Storm Uri.

We were Fort Bend Strong nine years later when Hurricane Harvey hit us twice!  The first blow was August 25th, 2017. A day later, Harvey reversed course and hit us again, dumping nearly 50 inches of rain in two days over parts of our region. And just like Ike, once Harvey had finally cleared, we joined together to get Fort Bend moving again.

Last month, Mother Nature did it again! No hurricanes, no floods, no 100+ mph winds, no storm surge. Instead, we experienced the lowest temperatures in nearly 150 years.   Our power went out, our pipes burst – some of us lived in our homes for nearly a week in freezing temperatures. Trying to stay warm, lives were tragically lost due to exposure, carbon monoxide poisoning and house fires. The horrific storm was given a name – Winter Storm Uri.

How bad was Winter Storm Uri compared to Hurricanes Ike and Harvey? President George W. Bush responded to Ike by quickly issuing a declaration of disaster for 29 Texas counties, including Fort Bend. After Harvey, President Trump declared a disaster in Fort Bend and 32 other counties. How extensive was the damage from Winter Storm Uri?  President Biden declared a disaster in all 254 Texas counties! Southeast Texas, the Rio Grande Valley, Big Bend, the Panhandle, the Hill Country, North Texas and the Piney Woods.   

How could we get through this? Fort Bend Strong! Here’s a few examples of Fort Bend Strong I found after Uri, and there are many more. On February 22nd, coordinated by Fort Bend County in Rosenberg and Richmond, nonprofits Attack Poverty, Lucille’s 1913 (4,000 ready to eat meals), the Highway Distillery (2,000 liters of water) and HEB (fresh produce) took care of our struggling families.  Susan Jackson of Friends of North Richmond summed up the efforts. “We asked how we could come together to show our community that we love them.” Fort Bend Strong!

Another example is BAPS Charities.  Within 12 hours of being asked by Fort Bend County to help, 200 volunteers from BAPS Charities and the Houston Food Bank distributed boxes of groceries to 5,500 families at the stunning BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Stafford. Fort Bend Strong!

It wasn’t only food and water that was given out. Some of our neighbors just wanted a warm place to sleep. In Katy, Hope Impacts and CrossPoint Church provided hot showers, cots, blankets and pillows to stricken friends.  Hope Impacts’ Tina Hatcher was awed. “Your generosity has blown us away.”  If that’s not Fort Bend Strong, nothing is.

In my first column, I promised no politics and asked for stories from you. I’m not breaking those promises, but Claire Brandani of the awesome Brandani’s Restaurant in Missouri City sent me an email asking me to recognize Missouri City Anthony Maroulis for his efforts during Winter Storm Uri.  Done. If you have a Fort Bend Strong story, I want it! Just like Claire did, send me an email to

We are Fort Bend Strong!