Heroes emerge as water rises

Published 8:37 am Monday, March 28, 2016

Leader Editorial Board


As the waters rose in the recent flooding heroes began to emerge. Twice, in response to the needs of the community, the West Orange Cove Independent School District and its team deserve recognition.

Ida Shossow, calling on behalf of American Red Cross, was the first to be the recipient of help from the WOCISD. Ida reached out to Rickie Harris, Superintendent of Schools for the WOCISD, asking for help.

The Red Cross needed a building to set up their Multi-Agency Resource Center (MARC). The Red Cross desired a location close to flood victims for the location of the MARC. The old WOCISD administration building on 15th Street was an ideal place. Harris and his team were more than willing, they were excited, to be able to help by accommodating the Red Cross.

A call to Rickie Harris concerning the generosity of the school system resulted in Harris expressing gratitude and admiration for his team and staff.

Harris expressed a desire to recognize his maintenance staff. They were determined to make sure the students in the district were taken care of.

In a sense, the school district got a reprieve during the flooding because of the timing. Spring Break just happened to be scheduled at the same time the historic, catastrophic flood came. That week of school therefore was not interrupted. Then the school district was also blessed with little flood damage. But they were not entirely spared. The North Early Learning Center campus was the only building in their system to be overcome with the rising water.

But according to Harris his team would not allow that to get in the way of opening the school. The maintenance team was determined to have the facility prepared by Monday, March 21. They showed their determination by working during their time off the weekend of March 19 and 20 to make sure the building was ready for students and it was.

“I am impressed at how hard my Maintenance Department worked,” Harris said. “They worked all weekend to ensure the North Early Learning Center would be ready to go on Monday if I called to open school then.”

Harris credits his team, their planning but mostly he credits their execution.

Much of the plan was formulated in July as Harris and his staff prepared for a hurricane. Executing that plan in this instance proved valuable.

But the team gets the credit, according to Harris.

“My team really gets the credit,” Harris said. “They guided us through this. My hat off to them.”

The outpouring of support has been humbling. Volunteers before, during and after have poured into the area to help wherever needed.

Thank you for all you do.