"My mom always taught me, if you help and you give to people, God will always bless you. And you know what? I've been blessed," he said.
As freezing temperatures and power outages continue to make life miserable for millions in Texas, some good samaritans are on a mission to help out those in need. Among them is Raymond Garcia, who despite not having power at his own house, is dedicating his time and energy to helping others for free. According to KTRK, Garcia has been going from house to house fixing broken water pipes, shutting off their water, and helping in any other way he can. In a Facebook post volunteering his services, he criticized someone quoting $2800 for fixing pipes at a time when "people are hurting."
"I'm just trying to help the Houston community. I mean, if I can help anybody else within my close range, I will. I'm getting calls from everywhere, Dallas and all of them. And if I could travel out there, I would help people," he told KTRK reporters. "People don't know where the shut-off valve's at because they can't find it or it's covered with mud or it's full of water so they can't see it." He also revealed that he had a personal motivation for helping people during this difficult time. Garcia lost his mom to COVID-19 last week and was so inspired by the kindness people showed him that he wanted to pay it forward in some way.
"Last Saturday, my mother passed away of COVID-19. She was already going to be 89 years. She was supposed to be buried today, they postponed it to next week," he said. "My mom always taught me, you know, if you help and you give to people, God will always bless you. And you know what? I've been blessed." Gerardo Martinez, who came home after stocking up on supplies to find it completely flooded, explained that he was unable to get in touch with officials when he tried contacting them about the water pipe bursting.
"I've been trying to contact the city but nobody answers," he said. "To experience this with all the power outages is just-- it's a heavy burden." Martinez praised Garcia for stepping up and helping his community in this time of need. "There's not a lot of people like him out there. A lot of people are charging over five grand and everything. They try to abuse the situation, unlike him. He's actually concerned for the people of this town," he said.
Nars Buenaventura and his friends are also on a mission to lend a helping hand to those who've been struggling to get around town due to worsening road conditions. According to KLTV, the crew has been driving around East Texas in their Jeeps, taking people to warmer places with water, taking first responders to work, bringing food to hungry folks, and towing people out of ditches. "If we don’t make a change, then things aren’t going to change. If we go out there and do the best we possibly can and lend a hand maybe they will help someone else down the road as well," said Buenaventura.
Icicles hang from a ceiling fan inside an apartment building in Dallas as millions of homes and businesses across Texas go without power during dangerous winter storm. https://t.co/Hj736WO3Vh pic.twitter.com/2mW3WQiZbw— ABC News (@ABC) February 18, 2021
Samuel Gilmore, a trucker, is one of those helped out by Buenaventura and his crew on Wednesday when they came just in time to tow out his truck and trailer. "Oh, it is a blessing. I was glad to see them because sitting on top of this road and not being able to get out of it that’s a problem," Gilmore said. Michael Castle, who is a part of Buenaventura's crew, said that they don't expect anything in return and that they are just doing it out of kindness. "Everybody needs help. We do it because we can, and it is the right thing to do," Castle said. "We don't charge nothing. I don't charge [anything.] We just do it because we can, and we have the vehicles that can do it."