By Loyd McIntosh

When Tropical Storm Imelda pounded the Texas gulf coast in late September, Automation Personnel Services’  Houston branches were ready to help. Officially the fifth-wettest tropical cyclone on record in the continental United States, Tropical Storm Imelda brought record-breaking rains and flooding to southeast Texas, particularly Beaumont, where thousands of employees of several multi-national companies live.

Concerned that many of their employees would be affected , executives of one major corporation (they have asked to remain anonymous), reached out to Automation Personnel Services for help. In 2017 Automation Personnel Services was contracted to help in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey which also ravaged parts of Houston and the Texas Coast. Facing another cleanup effort in the area, Bernadette Klene, Automation Personnel Services Western Regional Manager overseeing the Houston-area branches, took the call and sprung into action.

“I got a call asking for help in the demolition effort for many of their employees whose homes had been flooded,” says Klene. “This company had received hundreds of phone calls from their employees whose homes had been damaged, and they agreed to cover the cost of the cleanup.”

Bernadette immediately organized her branch managers and support staff from all four Houston-area branches to develop a plan of action and to recruit the staff needed to assist in the cleanup efforts. The team worked around the clock to coordinate efforts, recruit workers, process paperwork, and rolled up their sleeves to help families begin the cleanup phase.

“The team spent the next eight days pulling out flooring, tearing out sheetrock, and moving personal items like furniture and appliances that had been damaged in the flood,” Klene says. “Once the water receded, we knew we had five to seven days of hard work ahead of us to prevent mold from setting in.”

In all, Automation Personnel Services branches in Houston pulled together 109 temporary employees to assist with the clean-up of 37 homes over an eight-day period beginning on Sunday, September 22. Klene says it was an honor for her and the team of branch employees and temporary workers to help their friends and neighbors in need.

“A lot of these families affected had just rebuilt after Hurricane Harvey. It’s just devastating to see them going through this again. There were a lot of tears being shed, hugs, and prayers being said,” Klene says. “It’s just so inspiring to see the appreciation and love shown from both those affected by the storm and those helping to rebuild. It’s hard to put it into words.”

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