Texas man travels 300 miles on bicycle to help with Harvey relief in Rockport

‘I left everything behind and rode down here on a bicycle'

By Adrian Garcia - Digital Journalist

ROCKPORT, Texas - Traveling 300 miles south to Rockport, Texas, normally takes five hours by car but for one Texas man, driving a vehicle wasn’t an option especially when his heart was set on helping those who were affected by Hurricane Harvey.

“Little town called Laguna Park, Texas, up by Lake Whitney, and I just left everything behind and rode down here on a bicycle,” Jeff Whitehead said.

Whitehead said he was watching the Hurricane Harvey coverage on TV and knew he had to help after seeing the devastation left behind.

“In a few days, I realized that’s where I needed to go and after a few days of watching everything, I decided that it was just time to come do whatever I could do to help," Whitehead said.

When he left the small town just northwest of Waco, Whitehead said his neighbors thought he was crazy to ride his bicycle all the way to Rockport.

“Most of them at first are at a little disbelief on it. Of course, everyone back home thought I was a real crazy guy (and) actually, I think I confirmed what they already thought they knew about me before I headed this way,” Whitehead said.

Whitehead said one of the reasons he rode his bicycle to Rockport was so he could be at the same level of the residents after seeing people on TV left with nothing.

“I’ve seen a whole bunch of things that I’ve never seen before in my entire life (and) it’s really a lot easier to go around talking to people if you’re in the same boat as they are,” Whitehead said.

“I did it through a choice; they didn’t have one.”

Since arriving in Rockport several weeks ago, Whitehead said it’s still heartbreaking to see all the destruction during his daily ride around town but with the power of faith, he knows the town will rebuild better than before.

“The destruction you see on the property is stuff you can really get over, but a lot of the heartbreak is what takes people the longest to get over,” Whitehead said.

“Sometimes if you just talk to somebody, give them a shoulder to cry on, and let them know you care about them, that can actually go a lot further than a two-by-four.”

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