Texas flood victims raise funds for TACO disaster relief fund

SAN MARCOS, Texas — David and Rachael Rowley of Pecan Park Riverside RV Park have special empathy for campground owners who are victims of floods and other disasters, having gone through three floods in the past five years.

But even though the Rowleys have had repeated expenses rebuilding their park and relocating to another home, combined with unexpected medical bills, they still managed to do something extraordinary to help other park operators in need.

Last fall, the Rowleys announced plans to donate 25 percent of their nightly campground fees to a Disaster Relief Fund set up by the Texas Association of Campground Owners (TACO) in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. Then the Rowleys took their efforts a step further and challenged the AGS division of Texas Advertising to match their contributions.

TACO members got to see the results of their combined efforts last week during the final day of the association’s Spring Meeting, when the Rowley’s presented TACO CEO Brian Schaeffer with a $10,525 check to deposit in TACO’s Disaster Relief Fund.

Schaeffer then presented TACO’s Disaster Relief Fund with a more than matching check of $12,025.

But while TACO’s Disaster Relief Fund was originally set up to help victims of floods and other natural disasters, Schaeffer said TACO has directed funds from the account to Tom and Lisa Cauthen of Johnson Creek RV Resort and Park in Kerrville to help them cope with Tom’s emergency medical expenses.

“Our board said, ‘That’s a hardship,’ ” Schaeffer said, adding, “It’s not always about the hurricane or the flood.”

Floods, of course, were what inspired the Rowleys to donate 25 percent of their September and October park fees to the fund.

An October 2013 flood put two feet of water inside the Rowley’s four-bedroom home, which was located inside their campground. Another flood in May 2015 completely destroyed their home, washed out their cabins, restroom facility, laundry building and ruined their RV site utility connections. And after five months of rebuilding, they got hit with a third flood in October of 2015, which set them back once more.

“When you think you’re down, hold your head up high because that’s where you are supposed to be,” David Rowley told TACO Spring Meeting attendees.
“Keep your head up high and know that you are loved by an association that really does work for you. Thank you for your love and support of us, from an industry point of view.”

Schaeffer, for his part, commended the Rowleys for their efforts, and noted that donations that are made to help others invariably bring positive things to those who make such donations. “What you give to help other people will come back to you like you have no idea,” he said.

For more information about the Texas Association of Campground Owners (TACO), please visit www.tacomembers.com.

SOURCE: Texas Association of Campground Owners press release

Ronnie Wendt

Ronnie Wendt

Ronnie Wendt has been a writer/editor for more than 25 years, working in law enforcement, aviation, supply chain and the RV industry. She's not a stranger to RVs, however. She grew up camping, and still camps as many weekends as she can every year. She is the owner of In Good Company Communications and can be reached at ingoodcompanycommunications@gmail.com.

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