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20 tons of Harvey aid racing off to Texas from Speedway

SPEEDWAY, IN (WISH) – A “relief convoy” led by Brownsburg Police and Juncos Racing members departed Indianapolis Tuesday morning with more than 40,000 pounds of food, water and other supplies for Harvey victims.

The group will spend four days traveling to Texas and across the Lone Star State with their five trucks and trailers to distribute relief items to communities devastated by flooding. Planned stops include major cities already receiving assistance, as well as rural areas still under water and largely cut off from aid.

“We started with one truck and trailer [filled with supplies],” said Brownsburg Police Captain Ben Pyatt, looking at their massive stockpile of goods behind the Juncos Racing team’s Speedway shop in awe. “More and more people wanted to help… I wasn’t going to turn anything away. We’d find a new truck and new trailer, and here we are with five now.”

Contributions continued pouring in hours before their departure, prompting them to make one last trip to Walmart on Sunday night.

“We were in line and as we’re buying items, people are coming up to us and giving us more after hearing what we’re doing,” Pyatt told 24-Hour News 8. “People were pulling money out of their pockets and handing us more items. It’s been incredible.”

Jayson Marksberry, the Juncos Racing COO, said he didn’t expect their local initiative to snowball into a multi-vehicle hurricane relief caravan and is thrilled by the community’s response.

“I’m proud to see so many people trying to help,” he said. “There was no question in my mind when I saw images of what was happening in Texas that we had to do something. We immediately started putting this plan in action.”

Marksberry and Pyatt said they anticipate facing tragedy and utter destruction during their trek through the Beaumont region southeast of Houston.

“It’ll probably be shocking to see people who have lost everything,” admitted Pyatt. “That’s something I’ve never experienced. As Hoosiers, we’ve never been through that kind of flooding.”

Marksberry compared the level of need in parts of Texas decimated by Harvey to what he saw in the aftermath of a deadly tornado that swept through Southern Indiana in 2012.

“When we drove out [to communities affected by the tornado] with trucks loaded full of supplies, people were reaching for food, opening boxes of PopTarts and eating them before we could even get out of the truck,” he recalled. “That’s how bad it is right now with Harvey.”

Pyatt said he was “grateful” they had the means to help.

“I have friends in Texas,” he added. “I know they’d do the same for us.”