HCA Hope Fund Invaluable in a Time of Need
When Hurricane Harvey hit Northwest Medical Center, the facility’s plant operations manager, Garry Moore, had his hands full.
Dedicated to staying at the facility throughout the storm’s duration, Moore and his wife, Glenda, parked their motor home in the hospital’s parking lot and set up a temporary home for themselves – and a spare place to sleep for any of his colleagues who needed it.
The Moores didn’t return to their own home until Aug. 31 – only to find their house had a foot and a half of water in it. The next day, due to runoff and rising water, three more feet of water filled the first floor. They were devastated – Garry had built the house himself, from the ground up. Now almost everything they owned was ruined.
Not only that, but Garry’s stepson’s house was totally flooded, as well. It looked like it would be a longer stay in the motor home than they had originally planned. A proud man used to helping others rather than receiving help himself, Moore had to apply to the HCA Hope Fund for financial assistance.
"The Hope Fund helped us out so much, especially in the beginning, because we lost everything downstairs – all of our kitchen, food, clothes, furniture, everything we had accumulated over the years," said Moore. "The fund was a huge blessing, and it provided the help we needed to get back on our feet."
The Moores decided to help their son repair his house, then start on their own. Everything had to be replaced – insulation, drywall, cabinets, flooring, doors, and siding. The first floor was gutted and rebuilt. While they were at it, the Moores decided to use the opportunity to spiff up the second floor, too.
Then something totally unexpected happened. A fellow congregant at Dolen Baptist Church announced that she was selling her 18.5 acre hay farm, and she wanted the Moores to buy it. They had always wanted to live on a small farm, and this one came complete with a farmhouse, barn, chickens, a tractor, and even a stocked lake. Their house would be newly renovated, making it attractive to potential buyers … was Harvey actually a blessing in disguise?
The Moores decided to go for it. This November, their small farm in Romayor, Texas will be planted with blueberry, blackberry, and strawberry bushes. Moore is eagerly awaiting their arrival while tilling the fields and putting the finishing touches on their old house before putting it up for sale.
"I really think that the Lord has his hand on this" said Moore, who will continue working at Northwest while maintaining the farm. "Shortly before the storm, we had talked about finally getting rid of stuff we didn’t need. I guess the Lord thought we weren’t moving fast enough!"
Another HCA Healthcare Gulf Coast Division employee who chose not to stay in their previous residence is Tricia Wren, R.N., nurse manager of labor and delivery at Northwest. Wren moved to Houston in 2006, after Hurricane Katrina destroyed her home in New Orleans. Eleven years later, the same thing happened to the house she and her husband were leasing near the hospital.
About six feet of water flooded their home, and Wren was at work when her family – including her granddaughter – had to be evacuated via boat. HCA provided the family hotel rooms until Sept. 9, when FEMA began to cover temporary lodging. The house was uninhabitable, and both of the family’s cars were flooded.
A grant check from the Hope Fund landed in Wren’s bank account, and they used it to replace the essentials – clothing, basic supplies, and housewares. HCA also provided paid Uber lifts, which Wren used several times to get to shifts at the hospital until they could purchase a new car.
"My husband and I had been talking about buying a house, but we never really made a move to do so," remembered Wren. "Harvey took care of that! We were in a position where we had nowhere to live, and we had to make a decision – lease another house, or move forward with buying? We decided to buy, and in January we moved into our new house in Spring."
Wren remains extremely thankful for all of the support she received from her colleagues and the HCA Hope Fund. "It was very helpful and very unexpected," she said. "We really needed help, and the Hope Fund was there. I think it’s a wonderful thing. In fact, I had a colleague experience some difficulties recently, and I encouraged them to apply for help through the fund. It’s a lifesaver."
In 2017, nearly 1,500 of our colleagues affected by Hurricane Harvey received over $2 million in assistance from the HCA Hope Fund. Beyond supporting those who need it during a natural disaster, the fund also assists HCA families affected by illnesses or injuries, family death, domestic violence, or other special situations.
To request assistance from the HCA Hope Fund, go to www.hcahopefund.org. Employees can also support colleagues in need by making a tax-deductible donation to the fund through a onetime or ongoing payroll or credit card donation by visiting https://hca.yourcause.com. The fund also accepts donated PTO hours. Please note, assistance is limited to within 12 months of a disaster.