Ever mindful of the hurricane recovery mode, the Houston Police Officers Union raised at least $24,000 to help fellow officers in Lake Charles who lost their homes in Hurricane Laura.
HPOU’s Ray Hunt led the effort and presented checks totaling $23,000 to Lake Charles Police Officers Association President Lecia McCullough on Sept. 14.
Hunt was accompanied by Houston businessman Keith Lawyer, husband of state Sen. Joan Huffman –both close friends and supporters of HPOU. After viewing the devastation in Lake Charles and its effects on Lake Charles’ finest, Lawyer and Senator Huffman contributed another $1,000.
Hunt pointed out that while $10,000 came from the Union, “most of the other $13,000 came from KTRH talk show host Michael Berry and some from the efforts of Isiah Carey of Channel 26.”
Hunt and Lawyer delivered 28 sets of dishes donated by Trinity Lutheran Church and “a truckload of clothes” donated by Michelle Byrd, wife of Tracy Byrd.
Both Hunt and Lawyer were taken aback by the damage and power outages in Lake Charles with Hunt saying, “Keith and I were shocked by the large number of people there who did not have power. A number of businesses were closed and an incredible number of people in need.”
Lt. McCullough thanked HPOU profusely, explaining that the contribution was a large part of the donations the association was receiving from other departments across the Gulf Coast.
“The support we’ve gotten from Houston and Texas in general is just unbelievable,” she told the Badge & Gun.
“Around 20 officers either lost their homes or suffered catastrophic damage where they have to move out of their houses so they can be repaired. They still come to work every day with smiles on their faces and you cannot tell which ones lost their houses and which ones did not.
“We are worn out and tired. We have not distributed any of the money yet. We are waiting until we assess everything and figure out what they need. We are trying to play it by ear, and we don’t run out of money and help those who need it most.
“Everybody pretty much understands we’re trying to get halfway level again. We must deal with insurance companies and figure out what we need to do. If our officers have to fight insurance companies, we’re going to get attorneys to help them. The way our board looks at it, if you have an attorney, things go a lot easier and less stressful. We’re trying to do the best for everyone.”
Lt. McCullough said the association will plan to use the donations carefully and accordingly. She explained, “All the money that has been donated has been placed in a separate account. It will be used for whatever officers need once they get back on their feet. We didn’t start cutting checks to officers.”
Meanwhile, on Sept. 21, she said Lake Charles officers still have lots of hard work cut out for themselves.
“We’re trying to get the city back up in power. They will bring power up then it goes down. Our station has power and some homes have gotten it back. The linemen are working around the clock to get everything up and running. Power companies have come from all over the United States – Oregon, Ohio, and Florida. They were here in droves from day one, working and they pretty much have been working around the clock.
“You never know how good it is until you flip that light switch and it comes back on.”
It could be pointed out that no officers know that better than those from the HPD.
As Hunt said in his brief check presentation to the association president, “This brings back memories of what happened in Houston,” he said. “God bless you and let us know anything we can do for you.”
McCullough said the association is still accepting donations to two web addresses: