After spending more than three decades in the world of corporate compliance in Houston, Faye Watson was preparing for quiet retirement in her hometown of Wharton, but Mother Nature had other plans. In the disaster-prone Gulf Coast of Texas, Faye found a new calling with Wharton County Recovery Team, a group of community organizers who assist local recovery and rebuilding efforts.
“The most fulfilling part of this role is seeing a community—my community—rebound from not only Hurricane Harvey, but three floods prior to Hurricane Harvey in a two-year period,” Faye said. “Many lived in homes that were built in the 1930s. They are a resilient people, but the devastation and frustration had really worn the residents of the West End down.”
In 2018, Wharton County Recovery Team (WCRT) received $1.4 million from OneStar’s Rebuild Texas Fund that funded the construction of 10 homes on Wharton’s West End for displaced families—some whom had been without permanent residence for more than three years. The group has built a total of 24 houses for Hurricane Harvey survivors and has overseen more than 300 repair and rebuilding cases. Throughout the journey, WCRT has built trust with the community to ensure critical needs are met.
“Those in most need of assistance may not be aware of the services that are available. Communications are key to ensure these individuals do not fall between the cracks,” reported the team.
Serving with WCRT was an indispensable opportunity for Faye to give back to her hometown and honors the legacy of service passed down by her family. Both of her parents were raised in Wharton: her father was a military veteran and engineer, and her mother was a homemaker with a heart for the community.
“My mother was a community activist before she even knew what activism was,” Faye said.
Having paved the way for new homes for so many families, Faye has plans build a home of her own and is still eyeing a retirement in Wharton—if Mother Nature allows.
“I’m waiting for the levee to be built in Wharton, in hopes that I won’t be required to build six feet off the ground and be required to walk up a flight of stairs when entering and leaving my home,” Faye joked.