From Camden to Houston, South Jersey Freeholder Gives Back

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CAMDEN N.J. --Hundreds of people in the Houston area are still cleaning up damages left behind by Hurricane Harvey.

For one Camden County official and his friends, a planned vacation to Texas turned into a chance to give back to a southern Houston family, in need of some helping hands.

“It could have been worse, I mean, we’re healthy,” said Lina Hernandez of south Houston, whose home suffered flood damage from Hurricane Harvey.  “We’re alive and all we can do is keep moving forward from this.”

For Lina Hernandez and her family, their south Houston home was not considered a “flood zone” when Hurricane Harvey passed through.

“We lost everything, and so we were getting donations in with clothes, blankets, and stuff like that, which is amazing and I am grateful for, but what we actually needed was help removing our walls.

Hernandez said over Skype that they experienced major flooding, including sewage spilling into their home.

With an 18-year-old daughter, a 16-year-old son with autism, and an eight-year-old boy with severe asthma, the single mother knew she needed help.

“We lost everything, and so we were getting donations in with clothes, blankets, and stuff like that, which is amazing and I am grateful for,” said Hernandez.  “But what we actually needed was help removing our walls.”

Meanwhile, Camden County Freeholder Bill Moen wasn’t far away.

The freeholder was on a planned trip to Texas to celebrate a close friends 30th birthday.

“We celebrated his birthday, we went to a baseball game — an Astros game,” said Moen. “And then we woke up on Sunday and decided we wanted to find a way to help.”

Using an interactive map on swamplot.com, Moen read about Hernandez’s situation.

Moen and his friends picked up masks and gloves from Home Depot, drove to the house, and got to work.

“Basically we removed all of the dry wall, four feet and below, which is where the flood water ended up getting to that point, about three to four feet,” said Moen.

It wasn’t until Wednesday when Hernandez found out that Moen was a freeholder in South Jersey, hundreds of miles away. 

Hernandez calls Moen her angel.

“People can see him as a freeholder or whatever, but I see him as my angel,” said Hernandez. “Like to me, somebody of that stature, you know, to help me and help my kids, my family. That means a lot to me.”

Hernandez and her family are currently staying in a hotel, as they start repairing their home piece by piece.

Moen said he plans to go back to visit the family in Texas and help however he can.

“We need more people like him and his friends and his family because, like I said, you can donate money, you can donate your items, but donating your time?” said Hernandez. “That’s something that’s priceless.”

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