APRO Gives Back: Debriel Williams and Hurricane Harvey
Meet Debriel Williams, an employee in the rent-to-own industry and recipient of aid from the RTO Employee Disaster Relief Fund. Hurricane Harvey made landfall on August 28 as one of the most intense hurricanes in U.S. history, spawning as many as 50 tornado warnings in the Houston area. The torrential rainfall caused record flooding. Williams’ home, where she, her family of 7, and their 2 dogs resided, was along Harvey’s destructive path.
Williams and her family initially decided to wait out what she thought was a heavy storm until she identified several rescue boats in the distance and was informed that the neighborhood would then be closed off due to rising water levels. At the time, she recalls the road outside their home had accumulated about two feet of water while it had reached waist-level in some parts of the neighborhood. Luckily, her parents, who live just outside of Houston, were able to pick up the children and get them to safety. Williams, on the other hand, had growing concerns about her pets and looters, so she, her partner, and oldest son stayed behind. “You hear about the crazy things people do during times like these and I just couldn’t leave my dogs,” says Williams. “They’re family too and we didn’t know what the outcome of Harvey was going to be.”
Williams and her family went nearly 10 days without electricity and lost of a lot of personal items including clothing, bedding, furniture, and electronics. Hurricane Harvey also happened to hit on the same day as Williams’ son’s birthday. “He was pretty affected by it,” shares Williams. “Honestly, we didn’t think it was going to be that bad. We thought maybe the lights would flicker on and off for a day at most, but it was totally opposite of what I expected. I’ve never experienced something like this.”
Williams and her family have relocated to an apartment and are currently on the road to recovery. “It’s a work in progress. Slowly but surely, we’re getting back to normalcy,” says Williams. “Working in rent-to-own, I’ve heard a lot of stories from our customers who have lost a great deal—I am blessed that I didn’t lose any family members to the hurricane. I really do greatly appreciate the help…I would not be where I am now, in my apartment, without the help of APRO members.”
For Debriel and others, the RTO Employee Disaster Relief Fund is a bit of hope in a difficult situation. Join APRO in giving back by donating! Click here to donate online, or contact us at 800/204-2776, ext. 111