Chelsea Gonzales
by Chelsea Gonzales
Posted October 14, 2020

A Houston resident and Outdoorsy owner, Andrew Rutherford has hands-on experience with just how destructive natural disasters can be. “We first bought our RV for temporary living after our new home took on almost five feet of water from Hurricane Harvey,” Andrew tells us.

Unfortunately, this emergency purchase left Rutherford in a bit of a bind. “After having a lot of out-of-pocket costs due to the hurricane, I had no money available as a down payment,” he explains. “Therefore, the RV was drastically upside-down. With no other use or need for it, I wanted to try to offset the cost of it by at least a little.”

His solution? Renting the RV. He has done pretty well with this side hustle, bringing around $3,000 in 18 months.

The Call to Help

Then Hurricane Laura landed in Louisiana. After Hurricane Harvey wreaked so much havoc on his life, it should come as no surprise that Andrew wanted to do anything he could to help. “After being the recipient of an incredible outpouring of volunteer help with our house after Harvey, I had to give back in some way, shape, or form,” says Andrew. And so he did!

“Some people in our local truck club wanted to go and help feed first-responders hot, fresh meals and help people clear their driveways and get access to their houses, at the very least,” Rutherford tells us. He jumped on that opportunity to get out there and help and has been at it ever since. “Every weekend, my girlfriend Tayler and I have been returning to Deridder assisting with tree removal and yard cleanup. Insurance companies do not assist with any debris removal unless it directly affects an insured building (a tree on your house would be covered, but a tree blocking your driveway wouldn’t be).”

Of course, the couple needed somewhere to stay during all of this cleanup. Sure, he could use his own RV, but it was less than ideal for the situation. “My unit is 34 feet long, and since we are only going over there for the weekends, it’s a bit overkill to use it,” Andrew says. “With how big it is, it could be a bit of an issue trying to get through neighborhoods with downed power lines and trees piled up along each side of the road.”

Another Helper

This is where another RV owner, Cara Boggs, came into play. Cara is the owner of “Amazing RVs” and is also located in Houston. This amazing businesswoman has a huge fleet of 22 rigs and has made an astounding $725,255 with 711 rentals! She is a very busy woman, but never too busy to help.

As an example, Cara is always happy to help out new owners by answering any questions they may have. In fact, that’s how she and Andrew first met.

“Andrew first contacted me to ask a few questions about rentals and get some advice,” she explains. “Then, one time, I needed a delivery driver for one of my campers, and I asked Andrew if he would like to make some extra money. He accepted and has delivered several campers for us.” Because they’ve worked together so often, the two are now friends.

Yes, Cara is a helper, and like Andrew, she has a particular soft spot for hurricane victims. “My house flooded during Harvey, so I know what the Laura victims are going through,” she tells us. “It is overwhelming to see your house destroyed, and volunteer help is literally a godsend. I remember writing on Facebook about a fleet of angels who came to help tear out sheetrock and tear out the kitchen cabinets in our home so that the walls could dry out. I will never forget how touched I was that this crew showed up to help out!”

After such an experience, how could Cara say no when Andrew asked to use one of her trailers as a place to stay while helping with hurricane cleanup in Louisiana? “Andrew messaged me on Facebook to ask if I had any small campers available for Labor Day Weekend,” she recalls. “I told him that the only thing still available was our teardrop camper. I sent him the link, and he wrote back that it would be perfect for their trip!”

Indeed it was perfect, as Andrew confirms. “Cara had a tiny but perfect teardrop for us to use over Labor Day weekend,” he says. “It gave us somewhere to shower, a bed to sleep on, and air conditioning with power from my generator. It was a tight fit for me in the shower, but it was significantly better than washing off a hard day’s worth of sweat with a gallon of water in the light of a flashlight.”

As a helper who can’t always be everywhere help is needed, Cara was glad to have a way to help from afar. “I wasn’t able to go to Louisiana myself to help out, but loved that I was able to facilitate Andrew going by letting him use a camper that was just going to sit on my lot for the weekend,” she tells us. “I knew that I could trust Andrew to take care of my RV, and I would gladly let him take it again if it was available for the dates he needed.”

Moving Forward

That said, Andrew likely won’t need Cara’s tiny trailer again for this job. “Since Labor Day, we’ve made connections with locals who have graciously opened their homes, showers, and amazing Louisiana cooking skills to provide us with a place to sleep each night we are in town now,” Andrew gushes. “They see all the good we are trying to do and want to make sure we keep returning, so they do everything they can to make our hard days just a little bit better!”

Those generous people are very much appreciated, of course, but Andrew would likely return no matter where he had to stay. Why? Because he wants to help the people who need it most. “The best part of the whole experience is seeing a glimmer of hope in every single person’s eyes that we are able to help,” he shares. “Their house may need to be rebuilt, they might need to replace a car, they may not know what the next step is, but their yards are cleaned, and they have access to their homes again.

“It might not seem like much to people that don’t have these issues, but even the smallest weight off of their shoulders can bring back an immense amount of hope.”

All About Andrew

Favorite morning beverage: “Monster coffee.”

Favorite campsite meal: “Steaks!”

Music you like to play on the radio: “Country.”

Best game to play on the road or at your campsite: “Cornhole.”

Favorite season: “Winter!”

Last photo you took: “A picture of my beautiful girlfriend.”

If you could travel anywhere in an RV, where would you go? “All through Europe!”

All About Cara

Favorite morning beverage: “Chocolate milk or apple juice. Love the smell of coffee, but I just can’t drink it!”

Favorite campsite meal: “All of it! Love biscuits with sausage gravy, foil packets, hamburgers, dump cake, and s’ mores!”

Music you like to play on the radio: “Contemporary Christian, and’ 60s/’70s/’80s music.”

Favorite season: “Fall and Spring—in Texas, these are the BEST seasons to go camping!”

If you could travel anywhere in an RV, where would you go? “I would go to the Grand Canyon, stopping at Big Bend and White Sands on the way, and Palo Duro Canyon on the way back.”

Chelsea Gonzales

http://wonderwhereverwewander.wordpress.com/

 

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