Whole LOTA Love

After the Storm: A Houston Update

It has been one year since Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Texas on August 25, 2017. The category 4 storm with a diameter of 280 miles, and winds up to 130 mph, dumped over 51 inches of rain, exceeding Houston’s annual average of 49.2 inches.

Though the Online Trading Academy Houston center was spared, members of the OTA Houston team, students and their families were displaced from their homes and suffered great losses due to the historic flooding in the area. Education Counselor Gregory Williams, his wife, and two young children—ages one and five—were rescued from the rooftop of their home and taken by boat to safety. “Operations manager, Jan Beattie, took them shopping. We bought them clothes and whatever else they needed,” said Mary Beth Motisi, owner of the Houston Center.

Online Trading Academy jumped in to help Mary Beth and her team by creating a GoFundMe account to raise money for Hurricane Harvey victims. The donations from the entire OTA network totaled over $26,000. The company then matched $2 for every $1 donated, raising a total of $75,000. The funds were then distributed to OTA Houston employees, their families, and students in need.  

“We called every student and graduate from our database. We assessed their situation, including the amount of damage they incurred and whether they had insurance, and sent donations to those with the biggest need,” said OTA Houston owner Mary Beth. “We are grateful for everyone’s generosity. The OTA culture came through. The love from the students, staff, and other centers was amazing.”

Eyal Shahar agrees. “It is heartwarming to see so many generous and caring people step up in a time of need to help ease the tremendous pain and suffering of our OTA Houston team members, students and their families,” said Eyal. “It is not just the donations that helped, but your expression of love and support that has made the biggest impact. Thank you”

Hurricane Harvey ranks as the second-most costly hurricane to hit the U.S. mainland since 1900. Estimates put losses at $81.5 billion dollars. Over 300,000 vehicles were lost, 492 businesses reported having major property damage, and 97,212 single-family homes incurred damage or were destroyed.

Greg and his family lived in a hotel through February of this year until they were finally able to buy a new home. In fact, a large number of the population is still displaced today, as peak hurricane months—ranging from mid-August to October—are nearing.

For more information regarding Hurricane Harvey statistics, check out the following link: http://www.houston.org/pdf/comm/Hurricane-Harvey-Statistics.pdf

Most of their family pictures were destroyed in the flood, but here is one that was saved.