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Posted on: August 30, 2017

A Letter from the Mayor of Seabrook

Over the past week, the City of Seabrook, along with neighboring communities, endured an unprecedented amount rainfall in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. The never-ending storm has been an enormous strain on the entire Houston-Galveston Region. My prayers and thoughts are with the families who lost loved ones and their homes and to all who have been impacted by this catastrophic weather event. The devastation from Harvey is heartbreaking and shocking.
 
We have residents and businesses of Seabrook who have suffered damage to their homes and belongings from the flood waters. We have entire neighborhoods who have not been able to leave their homes due to impassable flooded streets.
 
Throughout these trying times, the caring and sharing nature of our residents has been personified. Neighbors reaching out to neighbors, and in many cases, even strangers, defining the word "community". To say I am proud of our residents in the face of adversity would be an understatement. I personally would like to thank each and every one of you for helping your neighbors in their time of need.
 
I am in amazement and beyond grateful for the hard work and dedication of all of our City staff who have feverishly been working to keep our city safe, secure and informed. From preparation to response and now recovery the City of Seabrook employees are truly incredible. Our City Manager Gayle Cook and Deputy City Manager Sean Landis manage a team of employees who have selflessly gone above and beyond to address our residents’ needs and concerns.
 
Our Office of Emergency Management, which is a one person shop, is managed and overseen by Jeff Galyean. Jeff spent hours prior to the storm preparing city staff for Harvey’s potential impact keeping us informed which allowed us to make critical decisions. LeaAnn Dearman, our Director of Communications, took the information coming out of the Emergency Operations Center and quickly disseminated it to our residents through multiple channels including social media, the city's website and TV channel. 
 
The Public Works team lead by their Director Kevin Padgett and Assistant Director Brian Craig have performed miracles ensuring that the city’s water and sewage facilities remained intact with many of the system’s pumps inundated with 4-feet of water. These crews prior to the storm cleaned up and secured our city, during the storm they removed debris and placed barricades in the pouring rain and now after the storm they will help our community recover.
 
Thank you to the Community Development department who assisted in the Emergency Operations Center during the event. Our Building Official, Nick Kondejewski was reviewing and evaluating storm damage reports as they came in and Code Enforcement Officer Alana Rohlfs gave situational reports to the team throughout each day. All of these employees remained at city hall through the entire storm, staying awake for more than 30 hours at a time and when they could sleep an hour or two it was on cots or on the floor at city facilities; putting the wellbeing of our community above all else. Some have yet to see their families as they are here still serving the residents of Seabrook as we begin recovery.
 
Then there are our first responders. The amount of thanks that we owe to our police officers, dispatchers and the Seabrook Volunteer Fire Department can never be fathomed. Our Chief of Police Sean Wright, and the entire Seabrook Police Department, worked tirelessly day and night, sleeping in the city, and operating in shifts patrolling the streets of Seabrook in very dangerous conditions during the height of the storm. The SVFD is led by Chief Andrew Gutacker and he has an amazing group of volunteer firefighters, who also manned our fire stations 24/7 responding to emergency calls and rescues during the fury of the storm in blinding rain, making high water calls, and responding to any and all calls for assistance.
 
There are many other City staff members that we owe debt of gratitude to, for their contribution in keeping our city safe, secure and informed. As the flood water recedes, and life, for most of us, returns to normal, give yourselves a pat on the back, and thank these people who played such a critical role in protecting us during this event.
 
I have no doubt that Seabrook will recover from Harvey’s destruction. I am committed, as your Mayor, to doing everything possible to help the families and businesses in this recovery process. We will all need to pitch in and help to not only rebuild Seabrook but also the entire region.
 
Sincerely,
Thom Kolupski
City of Seabrook
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