SAN ANTONIO, Tx. – Last week Texas was hit with a historic winter storm--causing millions of residents to lose power; leaving people with no heat, stuck at home and with no water. The situation made Robert Burns, of Brevard County, feel compelled to help out after a phone call from a friend in Texas.
“She called me and asked if I could go to Lowe’s and buy some plumbing supplies for her house and ship ‘em to her,” Burns said.
The water pipes in her home burst because of the polar vortex that affected San Antonio and Houston where it snowed for four days.
“I didn’t know how I was going to ship 10 feet long poles of pipe. So, I told her, ’I’m just gonna bring it out there,’” the 41-year-old said.
After purchasing the plumbing supplies, he rented a large truck and decided to reach out to his Brevard County community.
“I made a Facebook post and asked people to come fill the truck up and told ‘em I was coming,” he said via Zoom from San Antonio. “It spread pretty quickly, you know, it was very encouraging. I wasn’t sure what kind of response that I was gonna get. I went and parked at the Walmart in Viera and people just started showing up and bringing supplies. I had only planned to sit there from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. but because there was so many people, I stayed until the truck was full.”
After the truck was loaded, he drove from Melbourne to San Antonio. Robert said he stopped along the way to buy more supplies with monetary donations.
“We have great citizens in Brevard County, and I know we have some citizens who are very fortunate and they are very generous and so I was encouraged that they stepped up but I knew that they would,” he said. “The issue were the pipes that froze and burst. I was able to purchase 2,000 feet of plumbing supplies, of copper pipe, PVC pipe.”
It was a community effort Burns said he doesn’t want to take credit for.
“Without the people donating funds I couldn’t have got the truck, I couldn’t have paid for the $800 in gas it took to get here, without the people bringing supplies I wouldn’t have had nothing to put into the truck. So, it’s not just me. I just hit cruise control and sat down for 30 hours to get here,” he said.
His connection to Texas dates back to 2000 when Burns was stationed in Fort Hood, and then in 2003 he went to San Antonio where he graduated as a critical care nurse for the U.S. Army. So helping that community that left him some fond memories came natural to Burns.
“If we’re the United States we have to start by being united. And this is a great testament between how Florida is united with Texas, and I know that Texas will be here for Florida, you know when the time comes that we need them,” Burns said.
The goods were distributed Monday morning across the San Antonio area. Robert says a friend of his who had worked with the mayor helped him distribute the donations to 18 organizations like women’s and homeless shelters as well as for residents in dire need of those supplies.