Cox Media Group, including WSB-TV, delivers half-million bottles of water to Texas

This was posted on Thursday, September 7, 2017 by RODNEY HO/ on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog

Houston native and Channel 2 Action News reporter Tom Jones was vacationing in Palm Beach, Fla. when Hurricane Harvey hit his hometown.

"I felt helpless sitting on the beach," Jones said today from a hotel near Lafayette, La.

Then, Convoy of Care, a partnership effort by WSB-TV, News 95-5 and AM 750, the Atlanta Journal and Constitution, KISS 104.1, B98.5 and 97.1 The River, went into action. Within days, the effort collected more than a half million bottles of water from metro Atlantans. WSB then coordinated with Peach Movers to have 10 trucks to deliver the water different places affected by the storm including Port Arthur and Houston.

When Jones returned from vacation, he was happy to help out his home state and join the convoy. Jones left Tuesday and trailed two trucks who ended up in battered Beaumont, Texas two days later.

"We put water on buses and drove to neighbors and apartment complexes and shopping centers," Jones said. He split time doing interviews and handing out water himself. Demand was so high and thanks to social media, it took just two hours to empty the trucks of thousands of cases of water.

Drivers who helped out with the convoy. CREDIT: Tom Jones

Jones, a reporter with WSB-TV for 15 years with a focus on the south side of metro Atlanta, said he was amazed by the generosity of metro Atlantans. "Water was like gold to the folks in Beaumont," he said. "I was trying to be a reporter but I'm a person, too. My friends and family in Texas are going through so much. My heart was pumping. I was so proud of this effort to fill this need."

"I met a guy who had moved to Beaumont from Atlanta to take care of his mother caught up in the storm," he added. "He got some water. It felt good for him and for me."

He had a brother whose house was flooded in Houston. His parents, there, though, were lucky: the water got up to their entrance but didn't enter the home.

Participants who donated services included Atlanta Peach Movers, American Trucking Association’s “Share The Road” , Kennesaw Transportation, Collins Trucking Company, YRC Freight, and Aubrey Silvey Enterprises. Allied Logistics provided pallets donated by Ongweoweh Corp & its logistics company Native Trax Logistics, LLC.  Labor to help load up the water was donated by Bulldog Trucking and the Chattahoochee High School football team and booster club.

Escorts were provided by the Floyd County, Sheriff Tim Burkhalter, Oconee County Sheriff Scott Berry, Haralson County Sheriff Eddie Mixon, DeKalb County Sheriff Jeffrey Mann,  and J. Terry Norris, Executive Director of the Georgia. Floyd and Oconee counties provided six trucks of their own in the “Convoy of Care."

A view of one of the trucks while Tom Jones trailed them on their way to Beaumont, Texas. CREDIT: Tom Jones

WSB-TV and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution are both part of Cox Media Group. 

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About the Author

Rodney Ho
Rodney Ho
Rodney Ho covers radio and television for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.