NOVEMBER 22, 2016


Prairieville, 500 miles from Brownsville as the crow flies, was among several communities in southeastern Louisiana devastated by historic, widespread flooding in August.
Among those that lost everything were several school libraries. A book drive involving the Brownsville Public Library and Ethel L. Whipple Memorial Library in Los Fresnos is helping the affected schools eventually get back to normal. Valley Trucking Company, headquartered in Brownsville, delivered 33 boxes of books this month at no charge.
Five Ascension Parish schools were hit by flooding, among them Galvez Primary School, where Patty Grimball has been a teacher for 25 years. Grimball is the niece of Los Fresnos resident Robin Garrett, a retired educator for BrownsvilleIndependentSchool District and a Cameron County Library System lay representative for the Ethel L. Whipple Memorial Library in Los Fresnos.
When she heard the news of the flooding, Garrett contacted her Louisiana kin. Everybody was OK, thankfully, though Grimball’s school was not. The district was asking for donations of books and supplies. Garrett and a longtime friend, retired BISD educator Sandra Merrill, boxed up some books and shipped them to Louisiana.
Calvin Walker, president of the Brownsville Friends of the Library and county library system representative for the Brownsville Public Library, then heard about it from Merrill and thought Brownsville should get on board. The Brownsville library took delivery of nine boxes of books from Los Fresnos and added another 24 boxes of its own. Valley Trucking delivered the full cargo on Friday.
“Calvin being Calvin, he knew the people to get in touch with,” Garrett said.
Valley Trucking President Todd George said delivering the books for free was in keeping with the company’s practice of helping out where there’s need, whether it’s a police toy drive in Brownsville or a flooded school in Louisiana.
“We want to be able to help out communities that have been hit by devastation of any kind,” he said. “We’re big into this.”