First-person account: Anne Kieschnik

Houston has a big heart
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Friday, October 20, 2017

HOUSTON – Anne Kieschnik has worked in the complex rehab industry for more than 38 years and has lived in Houston her whole life.

She’s no stranger to hurricanes and tropical storms, but Hurricane Harvey in August packed a punch like she’d never seen before.

“There was 59 inches of water, depending on where you were,” said Kieschnik, an ATP development manager for Numotion. “There’s just no place for that water to go.”

Kieschnik was lucky enough to live in an area that was an island of sorts, thanks to some culvert work going on in the area. That meant her house stayed relatively dry, but with everything around her surrounded by water, she couldn’t get out, and that meant she couldn’t get to work.

Luckily, Keishnik says Numotion was able to assemble “a skeleton crew” at its office in Houston to field calls that were coming in from customers.

“We just wanted to be a resource and to figure out what we could do,” she said. “We asked them where they were, we asked them for their contact info, we asked them if they had gotten into contact with FEMA and if they needed a letter from us (to apply for assistance).”

Keishnik says Numotion was able to get loaner wheelchairs to some of its customers, thanks in part to donations from other company locations.

“We’re telling people, ‘It may not be the best, and it may not be like your old one, but it’s what we can do right now,’” she said. “It’s something, until we can get them re-processed.”

Keishnik says everyone at Numotion, not to mention all the residents in the affected areas, are hunkering down for what will likely be weeks of trying to get back to normal.
“The heart of the people in Houston is the big story,” she said. “We’ll always adapt—we’ll use ice boxes, if we don’t have power for an extended period of time—but it’s that we know we have support that makes it doable and tolerable. That’s regardless of religion, color, whatever. Which is refreshing these days.”