OC Trio Named Newsmaker of the Year
Friday night, Orange County Judge Carl Thibodeaux, Bridge City Mayor Kirk Roccaforte and BC Superintendent Jamey Harrison were rewarded for all their hard work over the last nine months.
Bridge City, devastated by Hurricane Ike, is not back where it was before the storm, but significant progress has been made; largely due to the trio’s efforts.
For that reason, they have been named Newsmaker of the Year by the Press Cub of Southeast Texas.
Over 250 people were rescued during the storm and after flood waters receded, only 14 homes in Bridge City did not have flood damage.
The trio kicked into overdrive and worked around the clock to get needed supplies into town.
Roccaforte’s home was among those destroyed, receiving several feet of water. He just “shut the door” and didn’t look back, because it was more important to him to get the town back on its feet.
Harrison was determined to get Bridge City students back into BC schools. He knew it was imperative for the survival of the city. Once school was reopened, students were bussed from wherever they were staying within a 20-30 mile range, with the help of other school districts.
Being told by FEMA it was “out of the travel trailer business” did not stop the efforts of Thibodeaux and Roccaforte to get temporary housing for residents. They turned to the state. Exactly two weeks from the date of the storm, the first FEMA “park style trailer” rolled in.
“I’ve never seen local officials respond this efficiently to a disaster before,” FEMA spokesman Mark Neveau said.
The rebuilding of a town continues.