Jonathon Simmons made a name for himself in the NBA world with the San Antonio Spurs, but he was born and bred a few hours east in Houston. He was back in his hometown when Hurricane Harvey made its approach to South Texas, and like millions of others in its path, he had to evacuate to escape rising foodwaters and find shelter from the ravaging storm that has reportedly claimed at least 38 lives.
Now safe after an extended stay at a friend’s home in Richmond, Texas, Simmons — who this summer signed a three-year, $18 million contract with the Orlando Magic — spoke about his experience with John Denton of the Magic’s website:
“Saturday night it started raining about 8 o’clock, but we had gotten over [to his friend’s house] about 3 o’clock just to be safe,” Simmons recalled on Wednesday morning. “I had bought all of these air mattresses and covers and blankets and food and water for everybody. We were good for three days, but my other friend’s house had started getting flooded early, so he came there to the house, too. So that gave us another 11 extra people and most of them were kids. We had to let the kids eat first, so most of the last two days it was kind of rough [without food].
“There was at least 20 people in the house and probably eight of them were kids,” Simmons added. “When I was little, my mom always kept the fridge full of stuff [during hurricanes]. This time, I ate a pack of ramen noodles and that’s all for like a day-and-a-half.” […]
When the food supplies disappeared, Simmons knew that he had to get his family and friends to safety as soon as possible. Luckily for him, rapper Trae the Truth – a fellow Houston native – came to the rescue.
“Trae the Truth, the rapper, is from Houston and we know a mutual friend from San Antonio. They brought a boat to Houston because [Trae] had to evacuate as well,” Simmons said of the rapper, who has gained additional notoriety recently in Houston for helping dozens of others evacuate flooded areas. “They came and got [Trae] and then he came and got us right away. Luckily, I had a friend in the area who could help us out.”
Simmons and his friends were among many area residents that Trae the Truth has helped find safety from Harvey’s floodwaters:
Simmons’ journey to safety included him being “crowded onto a boat with two-dozen others, [a] trek through knee-deep waters and [being] forced to ride on the back of a truck,” holding a child in his arms as he slogged through the knee-high water. Ultimately, though, those closest to him have been lucky enough to avoid serious danger related to the storm …
Thank God my family is safe..! Praying for other families!! #harvey
— The Jonathon Simmons (@ThaRealJsimms) August 29, 2017
… which makes him one of the lucky ones.
“It’s devastating,” he told Denton. “[…] But I’m also proud of how the city of Houston has come together to help one another. On the upside and the brighter side, there’s that seeing how people have been there to help one another.”
Many in the sports world have begun fundraising efforts to aid in recovery from a storm that has reportedly damaged or destroyed more than 100,000 homes in Texas and Louisiana, and landed tens of thousands of displaced residents in shelters in the region. Leslie Alexander, owner of the Houston Rockets, has pledged $10 million to Harvey-related disaster relief. The NBA and National Basketball Players Association have jointly pledged $1 million. Sacramento Kings rookies De’Aaron Fox and Justin Jackson, both of whom hail from Houston, have announced plans to return to the area in September to hold a charity basketball game to raise funds for relief efforts.
If you’re interested in learning how you can get involved, here’s a list of some places that could use help.
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