Thank you.
    That’s the message hurricane-stricken first responders and citizens in Aransas Pass sent back to central Texas after a coalition of sheriffs’ officials from Brown and other counties traveled there to help, Brown County Sheriff Vance Hill said.
    The coalition stayed at the Aransas Pass Civic Center part of Friday, Saturday and part of Sunday, cooking meals for first responders and other citizens and delivering supplies donated by central Texas citizens, Hill said.
    A total of 36 volunteers from five sheriff’s offices met up in Lampasas County Friday and drove to Aransas Pass in a caravan, Hill said.
    In addition to Hill and his wife, Angie, others from the Brown County Sheriff’s Office who made the trip were Chief Deputy of Enforcement James Stroope and his wife, Stephanie, Chief Deputy of Corrections Becky Caffey, Cpl. Taylor Fletcher, patrol deputies Leighton Wyatt, Jose Rodriguez, Marvin Simpson and Kaleb Hopson and deputies Amanda Goodwin, Candice Velasquez and Donald Batteas, Hill said.
    A business outside Temple donated a refrigerated truck which the coalition used to transport already-prepared food, and the coalition grilled hamburgers and hotdogs at the site, Hill said.
    Coalition deputies also helped the local sheriff’s office with patrol duties.
    “It was a very humbling experience,” Hill said. “There are still many, many people in the coastal area in desperate need of help. Even after a month, the devastation is unreal.”
    Hill said he saw devastation including homes without roofs, debris pushed into bar ditches and downed power lines.
    The sheriff said coalition members knew “we get to go back to our comfort, knowing there are people without housing and electricity and water — all the things we take for granted.”
    Hill said the first responders and citizens they interacted with wanted the coalition to tell their communities “thank you” for donating the supplies. “I personally want to thank each person who donated to the cause,” Hill said. “It was definitely worth it. It was definitely put too good use.”
    Hill also said he thanks Brown County deputies who stayed behind and rearranged their plans and schedules to make sure the county had coverage.