INGLESIDE, TEXAS - In the hours, days and weeks after a town is hit with a natural disaster, there's often uncertainty, fear and frustration on how to move forward.
The people of Cleburne know the feeling well. In 2013, a tornado ripped their city apart, killing six people.
"My house was hit, as well as several people in our church," said Teresa Bednar Wednesday afternoon.
Bednar, along with fellow Cleburne resident Jocelyn Morgan, recalled how much they appreciated the outpouring of help from other communities that followed.
"Makes you ready to do something for someone else," Morgan said.
But as they began a donation drive this week, ongoing at the Cleburne Regional Airport, Mayor Scott Cain saw an opportunity to make an even bigger impact.
"We're paying it forward," Cain said. "Instead of just giving to an organization, I thought, 'Why can't we pick a community and partner with them and come alongside them and help them through recovery efforts?'"
So they've chosen to partner with and help rebuild the small Gulf Coast city of Ingleside. It's a town of about 9,300, near Rockport, that was battered by Hurricane Harvey. It currently has no power, limited water and sewer services, and lots of people without home insurance.
Five Cleburne firefighters are already there.
"They're going to give us a list of needs, and we’re going to help them meet those needs," Cain said of Ingleside.
A town hall meeting Thursday night at 6:30 at City Hall will allow Cleburne residents to volunteer however they can.
"We're already taking steps to look at what staff we can send while maintaining the safety and what we need to take care of at home," Cain said.
The mayor is actually hoping the idea of adopting a town catches on that other North Texas communities will want to do the same.
"Let's not just wait on the state and federal government to do it. Let's show them what Texans do, and let's pick cities and we’ll rebuild the Gulf Coast together," he said.
They are efforts that nearly bring Ingleside's Mayor Pro Tem Oscar Adame to tears.
"I just can't describe the feeling that I have," Adame says. "It's such an outpour from them to want to come out and help."
"This community supports them and we’ll be ready to go down when we’re able to," said Morgan and Bednar of the efforts.
Simply doing what others already did for them.
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