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Local charity says high winds damaged equipment to help disabled

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The trees in the heavily wooded parts of northeast Harris County have been badly affected by the drought, and that proved to be trouble Wednesday for a charity that runs summertime programs for disabled kids on Lake Houston.

When high winds began kicking up white caps on Lake Houston Wednesday morning...

"It started blowing around seven o'clock this morning," said Roger Randall, President of Texas Adaptive Aquatics.

He went to check on the property where the charity keeps its equipment. What he found wasn't what he wanted to see.

"We got some big dead trees and now they're coming down," Randall told Eyewitness News. "Got a big one landed on the car and landed on one of our jet skis that we use, our main jet ski for our program which is our safety program when we teach the disabled to ski."

The damaged jet ski was donated by SeaDoo to TAA and every summer when they get people with disabilities out on water skis, the charity uses it to follow the water skiers, and pick them up out of the water if need be.

It was a donation worth at least $10,000 and that's money the charity doesn't have.

To make matters worse, the car that was crushed was a donation, too. The charity was planning to sell it and use the money to help get more people with disabilities out on the water.

"In today's economic climate, it's tough out here, especially for non-profits," Randall said.

A second big tree fell too, blocking the dirt driveway.

The problem with the trees is the drought and northeast Harris County, which is heavily wooded, never came out of the drought. That means trees are still dying and still falling.

Now, Randall is left figuring out what to do next.

"Start cleaning up and see how bad it is," he said.

And how to keep the program going this summer without a key piece of equipment.

"It's probably totaled. Start trying to see if someone will donate another ski," Randall said.

Texas Adaptive Aquatics offers sailing, kayaking and water skiing to people with mental and physical disabilities for free. This is their 23rd year.
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