Former Kerrville mayor Stephen Fine and his son, Tyler, took the streets during the winter storm to assist first responders and local residents.
“I wanted to help and I had the vehicle that could get us around to places others couldn’t go, so we just decided to start helping where we could,” Fine said.
Fine said on Friday, Feb. 12, he was attempting a drive to Rocksprings, but while he was able to nagivate the frozen roadways, he began to notice downed trees and fences.
“It looked like a tornado or wind shear came through,” Fine said. “I turned around and went home, because I was worried I might not make it back.”
The next day, Fine said, the weather worsened and he began hearing of people being stranded and thought he could help.
“ I called Mark McDaniel (Kerrville City Manger) and the Kerr County Sheriff’s Office and offered my assistance,” Fine said. “A couple of hours later, the sheriff’s office called and asked if I was still available.”
Fine said his first call was off Highway 16 North, where at least 16 power lines were down and the road was treacherous. When he arrived at the home, the residents were no longer there, so he called the KCSO to report what had happened.
“They asked if I could make another pickup of an elderly woman in Mountain Home,” Fine said. “I told them I would do it.
Fine said he arrived to find the women and her cat living in a fifth-wheel motor home.
“They had been alone with no power for more than 24 hours,” Fine said.
Fine said he delivered the lady and her cat to a hotel in Ingram.
Tyler joined his father the next morning.
“We helped an elderly couple in Northwest Hills get to a friend’s apartment in Kerrville,” Fine said. “Their driveway was steep and iced and they had no heat or water.”
Fine said he and Tyler made several trips inside the home to gather the couple’s dog and belongings before venturing into Kerrville.
The next call was for a trucker who had broken down on Interstate 10 near the rest area.
“He had hitchhiked to comfort, where he found a room, but needed a ride back to get his rig and his dog,” Fine said.
While they were devising their plan of action, the man found a ride to get his dog and return to Comfort.
Next up, Fine and Tyler stopped at Home Depot to pickup a generator for a couple who lived at the very end of Goat Creek Road.
“We went by my house and retrieved two of our gas cans, as they also had no fuel,” Fine said.
Fine said he and Tyler helped the couple set up their generator, filled it with the little gas they had, and went back to town for more fuel.
“We gave them some water, because their water pump was frozen and returned home,” Fine said. “The windchill at this point was minus 3 degrees.
Fine said they returned the next morning with water from Fine’s home that they filled in any container they could find.
Find said between Friday, Feb. 12 and Tuesday, Feb. 16, he and Tyler continued to help where they could.
“We really did not make a lot of runs, but just made oursleves available and did not turn anyone down who needed help,” Fine said. “Whether it was moving folks to safety or dropping off water.”
As natives of Kerr Couty, Fine and his son just wanted to help.
“This was just one way we could contribute in this difficult situation,” Fine said. “A lot of people wanted to pay us the help, but we wouldn’t accept anything. This was just our way of giving back.”
The experience has prompted Fine to look into forming an organization of local citizens who would like to do the same should the need occur in the future.
“My post of Facebook was truly just a call to fill in gaps assisting whoever needs help,” Fine said. “Kerrville and Kerr County are blessed with many wonderful organizations that did a great job stepping up when called upon.”
If you are interested in helping Fine determine the need for a group of citizens to assist first responders, contact Fine on his Facebook page.