Five-year-old J.W. Claburn and his mom, Emily, were expecting plenty of things when Hurricane Harvey bore down on their Richmond neighborhood—perhaps they would lose power or the Brazos River would overflow its banks in their backyard. They were prepared with food, flashlights, and water. The only thing they were not prepared for was J.W. to go viral… on the web.
As the National Guard conducted one of their daily visits to the Rio Vista neighborhood after flooding began, J.W. reached up to show them something. It was just a little thing he had picked up as his family surveyed the hurricane’s impact, including fish swimming down their street, the day before. He was sharing a small American flag he had rescued from a storm drain.
“It was just a spur of the moment thing,” shared Ms. Claburn. “J.W. has always loved flags and he wanted to show his support for the people helping our neighbors and friends. I snapped a picture on my phone and shared it on my Facebook page for my friends and family, like I would do for any cute thing J.W. does. I thought it might be a way to raise people’s spirits during a tough time.”
Within hours of Emily’s initial post, the touching photo of the sun streaming down through broken clouds had been reposted and shared hundreds and thousands of times. It quickly crisscrossed the globe and gained media attention. J.W.’s photo was broadcast symbol of hope for the people of Houston by Inside Edition, Yahoo! News, and more.
“I’m so glad this picture has helped so many people because it’s really tough right now,” said Ms. Claburn. “I know our family was blessed that our house didn’t get damaged, but we were stranded for several days. My family is playing catch up now since my husband couldn’t work or get paid at all that week.”
Stories just like the Claburns have been heard at San José Clinic since they reopened for care in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.
“While many Houstonians are blessed to have the resources needed to rebuild their homes, many others are in situations that will remain extremely precarious in the coming weeks and months,” said San José Clinic president and CEO, Paule Anne Lewis. “People living paycheck-to-paycheck were hard hit by this disaster, losing daily wages their families depend upon. As Houston’s original safety-net clinic, San José Clinic is helping the local underserved, uninsured community in any way we can. One of those ways has been removing all restrictions and costs of care for the time being.”
Since Harvey passed, San José Clinic has seen more than 1,000 patients and filled nearly 1,500 desperately needed prescriptions for both new and established patients at their facility. With their easily accessible location in midtown Houston just off the METRO, the Clinic has been a godsend for so many Houstonians.
But Harvey affected more than just the city limits; almost a quarter of Fort Bend County flooded and hundreds of families lost their homes. To serve these hard-hit rural areas, including the Claburns’ neighborhood, San José Clinic and partners also established a short-term health and supply clinic at Our Lady of Guadalupe in Rosenberg. At this satellite location, volunteers have seen more than 500 people for tetanus shots, prescription refills, eye exams, glasses, and other medical care.
When flood waters receded and they were able to leave their home, Emily was relieved to hear that San José Clinic did not sustain any damage and had reopened so quickly. She has been a patient at the Clinic for about four months and relies on their affordable healthcare and prescriptions, since neither she nor her husband are eligible for insurance or government health benefits.
“It is patients just like the Claburns that San José Clinic was established for 95 years ago,” remarked Lewis. “The Clinic will remain available for the area’s recovering vulnerable individuals and families as long as we are able.”
“The medication and treatment I have received at San José Clinic for my chronic conditions have helped so much. I have so much to be thankful for,” Ms. Claburn concluded. “God is working miracles in Houston.”
Let’s hope that miracles after Harvey go viral next.
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