BTHO Harvey, a grassroots organization comprised of Texas A&M University student volunteers, gathered enough relief supplies for victims of Hurricane Harvey on Saturday to fill an 18-wheeler and four moving trucks. During a spirited supply send-off rally on campus, about 150 Aggies volunteered to accept, sort and load more than 1,000 cases of water, 350 boxes of food, diapers, toiletries, air mattresses and other items. The students have raised more than $30,000 for the American Red Cross.
In a growing effort that is gaining momentum daily and attracting the support of the Aggie Network, the group announced that superstar Denver Bronco and Texas A&M alumnus Von Miller has agreed to “captain” the student-led effort at his alma mater to provide continued relief to victims of Hurricane Harvey. Miller, a 2010 graduate of Texas A&M, humbly accepted the role and pledged to donate $100,000 towards the group’s effort.
“My participation in this relief effort comes with a willingness to put my hands in the dirt and my boots on the ground alongside my fellow Aggies,” Miller said. “I’m giving $100,000 through BTHO Harvey to the American Red Cross as a challenge to other former students of Texas A&M University to donate what they can to help victims of this horrible tragedy get back on their feet, into their homes, and moving quickly toward some sort of normalcy.”
Texas A&M President Michael Young showed his support, spending more than an hour at the rally talking with students. “I am so proud of the students of BTHO Harvey, and all of the current and former students, faculty and staff members who have served in this dire time of need in Texas,” said Young. “The fact that former Aggie football player Von Miller has given such a generous donation to BTHO Harvey is yet another example of his leadership and the Aggie Core Values that he and other Aggies carry through life.”
Through partnerships with Texas A&M Athletics, the student group Maroon Out, and C.C. Creations, a local screen print and embroidery production shop, students sold more than 3,000 BTHO Harvey T-shirts Saturday for $10 each. T-shirt sales were the idea of Texas A&M Head Football Coach Kevin Sumlin. They mirrored helmet stickers worn by the Aggie football team in its season opener against UCLA. Miller gave online T-shirt sales a huge boost Sunday after he appeared on Twitter wearing his BTHO Harvey T-shirt. All T-shirt sale proceeds will directly benefit the American Red Cross through BTHO Harvey.
The group also collected donated supplies that were loaded directly into trucks and delivered during the weekend to hurricane victims in Beaumont, Texas, and other areas affected by the storm. The southeast Texas city of Beaumont is completely flooded; its 120,000 residents have been displaced and without fresh water for days. When students filled the 18-wheeler to the brim, they were worried about how they would store and transport donations that were pouring in. They contacted Philip Garrett, owner of Conlee Garrett Moving and Storage, and asked for another truck. Garrett’s response was typical of so many other generous business owners: “You just keep collecting and we’ll keep sending trucks!”
Greta Swift, president of BTHO Harvey and a Texas A&M University senior who is studying sport management, said the supply send-off was a great success.
“During the past week, we have partnered with other student leaders from some of the largest student organizations at Texas A&M to show our friends and neighbors in the Gulf Coast region that Aggies are ready to help in a big way through hands-on work, supplies and monetary donations,” Swift said. Now with Von Miller as our team captain, and the Aggie Network behind us, we’re confident that we can make a difference. It’s what Aggies do, and we’re grateful to have the opportunity to help. Texas A&M is about first-rate academics, but it’s just as much about our Aggie core values: excellence, integrity, leadership, loyalty, respect and selfless service.”
Saturday’s rally near Reed Arena featured performances by the Aggie Wranglers, Texas A&M “Rapping” Professor Reginald Stuckey (Dr. Reuben May) and country singer Wynn Williams. At the rally’s end, Mays Business School Professor Henry Musoma delivered an emotional speech during which he praised students for coming together to help others despite differences.
“I’m so blessed to be part of a university where students on a Saturday morning on the first week of school have gathered to make a difference,” Musoma said. “What is happening here I pray and hope starts a movement of generosity that is not just about a hurricane but about how we treat each other during this life.”
With only a phone call from student leaders, several local restaurants (Wings ’N More, Napa Flats, Grub Burger, Chick-fil-A, DoubleDave’s Pizzaworks, C&J Barbeque, and Firehouse Subs) delivered free food and drinks for volunteers.
BTHO Harvey began collecting needed items for hurricane victims on Aug. 30 at several locations on campus and around the Bryan-College Station community. It sent its first large truckload of provisions to Rosenberg, Texas, a city of more than 30,000 people that was especially hard hit by the storm and subsequent floods. Texas A&M former student Tyler Alberson, a 2013 graduate, donated the use of his U.S. Army hauler and also offered to drive it to Rosenberg.
The group also is organizing a blood drive that will take place on campus today (Sept. 4) from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Kyle Field. It plans to continue providing assistance in the way of manpower and donations of goods and money throughout the fall semester.
For decades, Aggies have yelled “Beat the Hell Outta” (BTHO) followed by the name of the opposing team at athletic events and other gatherings. A few days into the hurricane relief effort, students began using a second moniker: “Built To Help Others.”
To learn more about BTHO Harvey, including a list of needed supplies, visit bthoharvey.org, where you may donate to the American Red Cross, purchase a T-shirt, or join a list of volunteers. T-shirts are also available for $10 at the C.C. Creations warehouse in College Station, at today’s blood drive, in the Jackie Sherrill Letterman’s Lounge Monday through Friday, and at the Koldus Building four hours before kick-off of the Nicholls State football game on Saturday, Sept. 9.
Department of Student Activities
Part of the TAMU Division of Student Affairs, the Department of Student Activities creates and fosters leadership and involvement opportunities that enhance personal, interpersonal, and organizational development of students and student organizations. As members of the university community, the department is committed to developing leaders of character dedicated to serving the greater good, and it subscribes to the Texas A&M core values.
Texas A&M University Division of Student Affairs
The Division of Student Affairs supports Texas A&M University by providing exceptional services, facilities and programs that promote student success, embody the Aggie spirit, and foster a diverse and inclusive campus community to deepen the understanding and individual application of the Aggie Core Values – excellence, integrity, leadership, loyalty, respect, and selfless service.
Media contact: Sondra White ’87, Division of Student Affairs, 979-458-3296 or firstname.lastname@example.org