Helping through Harvey: Love's teams, Gemini drivers committed to customer service
Harvey has been on front pages, TV stations, social media and everywhere else you can imagine since he made landfall in Southeast Texas as a Category 4 hurricane Aug. 25. Homes, businesses, and most importantly, people have been impacted beyond measure at this point. People from all over the country are banding together to help complete strangers.
You've kept a close eye on the updates of store openings and closures. While those updates will continue to be made regularly, we're going to take a moment to share some of the stories of the people living it. With the number of people directly and indirectly involved, these stories in no way cover everything that has happened. We'll continue to shed light on as many employees as we can.
Thank you to the following employees for taking time out of their hectic lives to share their experiences. Join us in recognizing them and everyone else who put in long hours, spent time away from their families and selflessly served our Customers.
Randy Hamilton - General Manager, Love's 315 in Houston
Love's 315 was our only store in the immediate Houston area to stay open for the entire storm. Six employees worked around the clock for three days to continue serving Customers. When the main shelter in the area had to turn people away, Love's 315 became an impromptu mini shelter for people displaced by the storm.
With nowhere else to turn, the skeleton crew at Love's 315 provided these people food and a dry place to stay. Tamika Russell, Ashley Watson and Dadrick Martin teamed up to run Arby's ensuring everyone had hot meals. Zeb Scales, Waldo DeLaFuente and Katrina Collins took care of the store side. It was a daunting task, but they powered through to keep the Customers happy.
"Customers appreciated Love's and the store for the hard work and staying open," said Hamilton. "They knew it wasn't about retail or about the money."
Hamilton and the team at Love's 315 continue to power through and establish the needs of employees who have been displaced. One thing is certain, they will do everything in their power to keep serving our Customers.
Manny Gamarra - Regional Manager of Gemini Motor Transport
Keeping the stores open in the midst of historic flooding is a challenge in itself. Making sure those stores have fuel is a mind-boggling task. Our Gemini drivers managed to pull it off, though. Drivers from all over the country responded to the request for help to rush to south Texas and provide fuel to our stores.
The team worked around the clock without a second thought. Some, like Lead Fuel Driver William Akmal Jr., even spent time outside of work rescuing people stranded by floodwaters. Others are dealing with their own losses of homes and vehicles. However, the drivers pulled together to make sure the stores had what they needed.
"When something like this happens, a lot of times work is the last thing on a person's mind," said Gamarra. "The fact no stores in south Texas ran out of fuel during the storm is amazing. We ran a little low after, but that was expected because of supply issues. All of our trucks are rolling now, and drivers even left their families to help preload trucks and make sure we were ready. It was a total team effort."
Those big yellow trucks are certainly a sight for sore eyes for everyone in Southeast Texas. Thank you to the drivers committed to delivering fuels to our stores through treacherous roads and challenging conditions.
Halie Behrens - Travel Stop Shift Leader, Love's 234 in Katy, Texas
Love's 234 found itself in a unique position. They were tasked with helping those brought in to help others. Teams of FEMA representatives and state troopers stopped at Love's 234 to fuel before heading to a designated staging point. Their plans changed when they were instructed to find high ground and hold tight for a while. That high ground turned out to be Love's 234.
The employees welcomed the crews into the store to eat and stay dry. Their pit stop turned into a 36-hour stay until they were able to continue on their mission. People slept where they could, and the state troopers stationed their vehicles in the tire shop. The team at Love's 234 kept them fed and offered showers to anyone in need. Eventually, the waiting became too much for FEMA and state trooper crews, and they started pitching in to pass the time.
"They got bored so they helped front face the shelves, one person stocked the cooler," said Behrens. "They knew we were tired so they would say, 'Teach me to run the register so you can take a nap.' It never came to that, though."
While Behrens was working to help others, she put her own needs aside. After three days at the store, she went home to find her apartment under a foot of water. She deflected any condolences saying others had it much worse.
These are the selfless acts that make Love's amazing. We join together to stand up for our communities. There is a long way to get through everything Harvey has to throw at us, but we will do it together.
Thank you to Randy Hamilton and the team at Love's 315, Manny Gamarra and the Gemini Drivers, and Halie Behrens and the crew at Love's 234 for everything you have already done. Also, thank you to those who haven't been highlighted yet. You are all doing more great things than anyone understands.