Mennonites in Bloomington

Mennonite Disaster Service volunteers repair a home in Bloomington.

To thank volunteers rebuilding homes damaged by Hurricane Harvey, Victoria County set aside March 17 as a day to celebrate the Mennonite Disaster Service.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, the Mennonite Disaster Service, a volunteer group that helps clean up and repair homes after disasters, promised county officials it would stay and help rebuild homes in the south part of the county for the next few years.

“The Mennonites came in when we thought we lost all hope for recovery,” said Commissioner Danny Garcia during Monday’s commissioner meeting. “And they gave us hope again.”

Immediately after the storm, the group spent weeks clearing downed trees and ripping out soaked drywall from damaged homes. Now, volunteers are rebuilding homes for families who desperately need them.

Towns in Garcia’s precinct, such as Bloomington and Placedo, were hit especially hard by the hurricane, which toppled trailer homes and sent trees crashing through houses. The volunteer group, which is made up of members from across the U.S., promised to help those who otherwise couldn’t afford to become whole again.

Garcia said the Mennonites are focusing on helping people in his district, but Victoria residents in need of help can look to other volunteer organizations. The Victoria County Long-Term Recovery Group, which is made up of local government officials and nonprofit leaders, is working to identify how to help people still in need.

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Marina reports on local government for the Victoria Advocate. She may be reached at or 361-580-6511.

Marina writes about housing, Hurricane Harvey recovery and local politics for the Victoria Advocate. You can reach Marina by emailing or follow her on Twitter, @MarinaStarleaf.