“Worse than I ever imagined”: Utahn shares his experience repairing plumbing in Texas after the storm
SPRINGVILLE – A Utah County plumbing company raced to Lufkin, Texas to help people with broken pipes after the severe winter weather and ice storm that hit the area last month.
Frank Hatch didn’t know exactly what he was getting into. He just knew he wanted to do something.
“I have to help in this country and feel part of something,” said Hatch.
He said these words last month just before he and his workers left for Texas.
Hatch owns Imperial Plumbing in Springville, and after the ice storm that hit Texas left millions of people with frozen and broken pipes, Hatch knew his expertise could help them.
He and his team just returned to Texas this week after spending time in the Lufkin, Texas area.
“The destruction was incredible. Worse than I ever imagined,” he said. “The plumbing they use, their plumbing just broke. So we basically moved the whole house for them and these are obviously people who couldn’t afford it.”
Hatch and his crew worked on dozens of houses for free.
They crawled beneath them in the most difficult conditions that even the most seasoned plumbers had ever faced.
“It was raining the whole time we were there,” said Hatch. “They were lying in raw sewage, animal feces, things like that. And they never complained once.”
Some of his workers got sick.
A team from Imperial Plumbing in Springville, Utah shares the experience of helping repair plumbing after ice storms in Texas. (Photo: Wyler Smith via KSL TV)
A couple of their work trucks were broken.
And it often seemed like the work never ended.
“We’d go back in the room after a 12-hour day and your boots are soaked. No way to dry them. Things like that,” Hatch said.
Even so, the job was as rewarding as any other it’s ever been on.
Most of the people Imperial Plumbing helped didn’t think that anyone would help them.
I needed my way of doing things, to help humanity, make things better in America, and to show that everyone still cares
“It was definitely worth it,” said Hatch. “My workers, they just loved it when the person came out. Tears ran down their faces.”
After KSL shared the story of their departure, many people wanted to help Hatch with money.
He says he used that money to help people fix their homes with broken windows, appliances, and furniture.
“I told them it was from the Utah people who wanted to help,” Hatch said.
It was an experience he will never forget.
It’s also one he needed after so much political division in recent years.
“I needed my way of doing things to help humanity and make things better in America and to show that everyone still cares,” said Hatch. “My workers are young men in their twenties and it was great for them to see that.”
Because in a disaster like the one you found yourself in, it doesn’t matter if you’re a Republican, a Democrat or whatever.
All that matters is someone needs help, and Hatch wanted to be a part of it.
“I wish we could really have done more,” he said. “But what we helped was incredible.”