Coming from Mont Belvieu, Texas, Kendall Shaw had lived through two hurricanes prior to recent devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey. But Harvey was unlike any hurricane she had previously experienced.
“It was kind of different from the other two I have been through,” Shaw said. “Just because this one got so big so fast.”
And while the storm occurred almost three months ago, Shaw’s pain felt by its impact and her memory of the storm are still increasingly vivid.
While Shaw may be hours away from the Lone Star State, she still checks in frequently with her family who live in Texas to see how the rebuilding process is going. Many families are still displaced and the interior of the houses are still in turmoil due to the heavy demand of so many houses that need fixing.
Shaw was not the only college student in her family who the storm affected because her brother attends college in Houston, where significant flooding also occurred. In fact, Shaw said that her brother was actually unable to get to the rest of his family after the hurricane due to his car being flooded. Shaw’s house back home did not get damaged in the storm, however, and that fact has led them to feel a desire to give back to those who were not as fortunate.
“My family is always big into helping back and helping those in need, especially because in this case we were so fortunate with no damage to our house,” Shaw said. “So as a family we were like, ‘alright let's do as much as we can to help those.’” Shaw’s family took in many kids into their own home while their homes were being rebuilt, and they also helped cook and serve meals to those in need.
“It was a very emotional experience just because you see family and friends struggling and have damages, so as rewarding as it was, it was also very emotional just to see some of your closest family friends going through what they are going through,” Shaw said.
However, what made the recovery efforts a little easier was the amount of support she saw coming from Wisconsin, particularly from J.J. Watt. Watt, a former Wisconsin defensive end, raised over 37 million dollars, gathering over 200,000 people to make donations for the Hurricane Harvey Relief Cause.
“I really hope I can meet him one day so I can tell him that,” Shaw. “I think J.J. Watt is completely incredible for all he does for the city of Houston even before the hurricane, so I really hope one day I get the opportunity to talk to him and tell him that.”
As the holiday season approaches, one of the biggest problems the victims of Hurricane Harvey are facing is a lack of food. There have been multiple food banks set up among schools and churches, but Shaw said the hardest part is just keeping them stocked. As she returns home for the holiday season, she plans to raise money and donate to the food banks, knowing that chaos will ensue during this time of year.
If asked who tends to emulate the mom of the team, without hesitation, the Badgers point to Shaw. Head coach Jonathan Tsipis calls it a mother hen quality which Shaw possess. Of course, by living through more natural disasters than the average college student, Shaw has learned a lot about giving back, but she believes her mother hen quality stems from something deeper.
“I think it stems a lot from my parents, and my nana, who had passed away. We were just super close,” Kendall said. “I have always been told I am an old soul and I always try to take care of people, so I think it came from birth honestly. But, I feel like going through natural disasters has helped me use that to help more people than I probably would have had I not been through natural disasters.”
Shaw’s family continues to offer support to those struggling from the effects of Harvey, and she hopes she is able to do the same upon returning to Texas for the holidays. In the meantime, she stresses the need for food donations to food banks all around Houston because though everything seems fine on the outside, many are still struggling to reestablish their homes while bringing aid to displaced friends and family.