PRATTVILLE, AL (WSFA) - John Kolasky, owner of Cross and Crescent Transportation, started collecting donations for Hurricane Harvey victims last week with one goal in mind: to fill one of his trucks with the maximum 48,000 pounds in donations to send to people in need in the Houston area. As he loaded the truck, with help from friends, family and volunteers, he realized he had far surpassed his goal.
"We've surpassed that almost just in water," Kolasky said. "You know, they're probably 1,200 pounds each. We have about 30 pallets of water."
Kolasky said he is proud of the Prattville community as well as River Region residents who donated to the multiple locations he set up around the area.
"They all had smiles on their faces," Kolasky said. "They were glad to be donating and helping."
The truck left once it was filled to capacity on Wednesday, headed for the Houston Food Bank. Because of the overwhelming response, Kolasky's mother followed the truck for the 10-hour driver with a trailer full of donations specifically meant for pets.
Lillie Gumm drove the truck to Houston. The journey is a personal one for her. The New Orleans native said she vividly remembers seeing the images of her hometown after Hurricane Katrina hit, though she wasn't living there at the time. However, she was living in Baton Rouge in 2016, when the city was submerged in a devastating amount of flooding.
"I lost everything in the flood," Gumm said. "I can relate to the people in Houston. The emotional turmoil. The devastation."
After a little more than a year, Gumm was able to move back into her home a couple of weeks ago. She said being able to deliver the kind of help that was made available to her is humbling.
Kolasky said the group collected more donations than could fit in the truck. He plans to hold on to what is left over to send to areas that will be impacted by Hurricane Irma.