'Resilience of faith': Pence visits Rockport church to mark Harvey anniversary, arrives in Houston
ROCKPORT, Texas – Vice President Mike Pence visited Rockport Wednesday morning to mark the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Harvey. He landed in Houston Wednesday afternoon.
Saturday will be a year since Harvey made landfall near Rockport with winds of more than 130 mph, leveling homes and upending the lives of thousands.
Pence spent Wednesday visiting the First Baptist Church of Rockport, which was badly damaged during the storm. One year later, the church has been rebuilt.
“A resilience of faith on full display,” Pence said as he looked over photos placed outside the church of the building before and after the storm. “It’s very inspiring.”
Pence said that the damage to the church didn’t stop its leaders from helping the community that was in dire need.
“To see the way this community came together, and to see the way a church and a community, in the midst of a historic hurricane, came alongside neighbors that were in need,” the vice president said.
That sentiment was echoed by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott who was with Pence during his tour.
“Without the help of average, everyday Texans, we wouldn’t be where we are now,” Abbott said.
Pence said the visit has left him feeling confident in the state’s ability to bounce back from Harvey.
“It’s hard to come today and not be inspired,” Pence said.
Later in the day, the vice president, along with Rep. John Culberson, arrived in Houston, where Pence will speak Thursday at the Johnson Space Center.
During Pence's Rockport briefing, FEMA shared the numbers the agency calculated during and after Harvey.
Harvey by the Numbers:
The MPH winds recorded in Port Aransas during the category 4 hurricane and dumped up to 60 inches of rain.
Forty-one of 53 Texas counties designated disaster areas. In the days after landfall, communities did what they could to recover. During his remarks, Vice President Pence said, "Thank you for your inspiring example. You truly inspired the nation. Think of the devastating hurricane that came ashore and the way that this community responded. People across Texas responded. Volunteers all across America and in some cases all across the world came alongside."
That's the number of square miles of land impacted. Governor Abbott said the recovery from the devastation is thanks, in large part, to Texans helping Texans. He said, “We would not be here without the resilience, without the heart, without the commitment of our fellow Texans.”
The millions of cubic yards of storm debris were hauled away.
That's the billions of dollars FEMA says it has distributed to survivors in Texas. Pence said this is just the beginning. He said, "This administration is going to work with this governor, with all of the wonderful and outstanding volunteers and faith communities across this region until we rebuild Rockport and all of TX bigger and better than ever before."
Shelters opened across the state. This is something Pence says the federal government is prepared to help with as Hurricane Lane approaches Hawaii. Pence requested, "I encourage you to pray for our fellow Americans in Hawaii as this hurricane approaches."
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