Michelle Martin-McDulin was near tears.
The Badin High School art teacher was thinking about her friends and family in Houston, Texas; about the wrath of Hurricane Harvey; and about the generous response of the Badin community she is now a part of.
“The way our community responds is just amazing,” said Martin-McDulin after learning that Badin High School students, faculty and friends had collected more than $3,000 in gift cards in just four days as part of a “Helping Houston” campaign in the school.
“The situation is heartbreaking,” Martin-McDulin added about the flooding that impacted thousands in Texas.
She lived and taught in Houston for eight years before returning to her hometown of Hamilton with her family in the summer of 2015.
“You watch the news and you see the images and you want to help,” she said.
Hurricane Harvey slammed into the school district where Martin-McDulin previously taught — Clear Creek Independent School District in the southeast Bay Area of Houston.
The large district of five high schools will remain closed until Sept. 11. Martin-McDulin taught at Clear Lake High School there.
“It’s nice to have that direct connection in the midst of tragedy,” said Gina Helms, Badin’s director of campus ministry who helped spearhead the campaign. “The generosity of the Badin students and the Badin community is very strong.”
Helms said the school will send the gift cards to the office of the superintendent of schools at Clear Creek and let the administration determine how to distribute the donations.
“It seems like we’ve had various natural disasters for four straight years now,” Helms said, “and year-after-year our students keep stepping up. They just want to do what they can to help. It certainly does make you count your blessings when you see the tragic devastation in Texas.”
Martin-McDulin is a Hamilton High School graduate whose brother, Mark Martin, a former baseball standout for the Big Blue, still lives in Houston.