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Kingwood Volunteer
© by Bonnie McKenna
Observer Intern


“Helping others is a value we hold dear at Shell,” said Randy Braud U.S. Country Controller for Shell Oil Co. 

  “I am on the Shell Oil Co. crisis management team. On Thursday and Friday, before Rita hit, we did not go into work. On Monday, only essential personnel were told show up. I worked all day. About 9 p.m. that evening, I was working on my computer, when I received a message from the company saying there was an urgent need for volunteers at the George R. Brown Convention Center . I looked at my wife and said I was too tired. She turned to me and said, ‘What if everyone felt that way.’ I called my neighbors John and Tish Lane to ask if they wanted to go. They did not hesitate; they were on the curb waiting for me when I pulled the car out,” said Braud.

  “When we arrived at the convention center we were met by six other Shell employees. We thought we would just be there until midnight, but we did not leave until 2 a.m. The city of Houston ordered buses to go to the evacuation shelters west of the city to pick up evacuees. The buses brought the people into the convention center where they were re-routed on Metro buses or cabs to their homes. The re-routing involved transferring all their possessions including suitcases, boxes, wheelchairs and pets. That was basically our job,” he recalled.

  “When the folks got off the buses we were there to say, ‘welcome home, glad to have you home and things like that. These people were happy to have someone helping them in the middle of the night. You could see it in their faces. It really made us feel good that we were there to help.”

  This is just part of Braud’s hurricane story. Braud is from Louisiana , just south of New Orleans . When Hurricane Katrina was bearing down on the city, his relative called and asked if Randy and his wife could shelter them. With the help of his neighbors, who opened their doors to help, Randy was able to take care of 27 people, 11 dogs, two pet mice and a ferret.

  “We had so many people, who needed a lot of food, I had to buy a freezer just to take care of them,” Randy laughingly said.

  “Overall, I could not believe the outpouring of support I felt from our Kingwood community. My wife went to Pet Ranch to get dog food for our guest pets. When the store learned about our family, they did not charge for the 20-pound bag of food. CVS, across from Stein Mart, refilled my mother-in-law’s medicine as a courtesy. Due to the number of pets at my house, it was necessary to board some of the dogs. Dr. Keys of Atascocita Animal Hospital refused to charge us when he heard the reason why we boarded the dogs.”

  Braud is one example of the volunteer efforts extended by the Shell Oil Company employees to help hurricane evacuees. Approximately 5,000 Shell Oil Co. and Motiva Enterprises, LLC employees, retirees and family members volunteered over 21,000 hours of their time to Hurricane Katrina and Rita relief efforts. Shell also donated over $3 million to the American Red Cross and the United Way .  Volunteers are continuing to donate their time to numerous community organizations here in Houston .