While the Brazos Valley was hit with flooding in many areas, none can compare to the devastation experienced by our friends nearer the coast, in particular Rockport and Houston.
For KBTX, the numbers of people in touch with us was a little astounding. Millions watched during live streams. Thousands sent comments from all over the world, many who have students attending A&M or relatives impacted by some way due to Hurricane Harvey.
While being prepared to get information out as accurately and as quickly as possible is always the goal, a tragedy of this magnitude is something you just can't plan for. I'm just a cog in this wheel, Lori Bruffett is station manager, and between us, our job is to provide this incredible staff with what they need, and – in this case – to express to everyone how proud we are of what you have done over this past week to serve friends and neighbors who need information and updates. We heard from hundreds who feel the same.
BK sent this note:
"I posted on Twitter but wanted you to personally know how appreciative I am of the weather and news people at KBTX. My daughter is an incoming senior at A&M and has been back in College Station for a few weeks for the sorority events that have been taking place. This means she was there during Hurricane Harvey and, being in another part of the state, there was nothing I could do to help her. I totally relied on your people to help me understand what was going on and to not hit me with hype. Shel Winkley and his people constantly gave us the facts on Twitter and Facebook with information we needed without scaring us. It is so refreshing these days to have a no-nonsense television news operation that focuses on what we need to know… and as a scared parent, I really needed to know and I am so appreciative of their efforts."
Thank you for keeping KBTX as a respected news source. I hope everyone there knows how lucky they are to be a part of this operation.
"Thank you for the weather reports. No hype just facts. I am a widow living alone and this storm has me nervous. Shel has answered my questions on twitter. He is the best."
We're grateful for these and other notes we received. In times of tragedy, we see the very best in people. The video coming out of Houston, people helping each other, giving to each other – doesn't matter the color of skin, Republican, Democrat, Protestant or Jewish – at times like this, we are all one. Why can't this spirit be part of our lives every day? Special thanks to our weather watchers who sent some incredible pictures, kept us up to date with rainfall reports, and to those who stayed with us through all Facebook Live events. Truly, we were – and ARE – in this together.
It would have been easy to be live on-air when its convenient, live on Facebook when we felt like it. But to us, commitment is deeper than just saying you'll be there – to us, it's about knowing you can depend on us to be here - or out in the middle of the storm to bring pictures from your world so we could all share in the challenges facing our neighbors. KBTX has been here staffed 24/7, it's what we do, it's the calling and a responsibility we take seriously. And we'll stay right here – until the storm passes. We are stronger – together, and we thank you for placing your trust on-air and on-line – in KBTX News 3.