Though well known for its dry heat, the state of Texas isn’t a stranger to frost and flurries. In early February, however, Texas was hit by a maelstrom of ice in snow that most of its citizens had never seen the likes of. With temperatures reaching below freezing even as far south as Houston, the state was thrown into a frenzy.
Because weather like this is rare for much of the state, buildings are not constructed with sub-freezing temperatures in mind. Millions of people went without power for days. Thousands of homes and businesses alike experienced burst pipes, some even freezing into indoor icicles. Suddenly, Texas was plunged into a state of emergency.
All the way in New Jersey, Kisha Pinnock had been closely monitoring the situation. One of her sisters lives in the Houston area, and upon hearing how bad her situation was, Pinnock and her husband, Andrew Mitchell knew they had to help. Thankfully, they were precisely what the people of Houston needed.
Andrew Mitchell owns a plumbing company in Morriston, New Jersey. As reports of citizens and plumbers alike crying out for help across Facebook reached Mitchell’s ears, he felt more and more compelled to do something.
Andrew Mitchell and Isaiah Pinnock.
“This is your time,” Pinnock told Mitchell. “Everybody has their time to shine. You have the skills; you have the credentials…You should just go.”
So, Mitchell loaded up his wife, their two-year-old, and his apprenticing brother-in-law (Isaiah Pinnock) into a truck of supplies. Together, they made the 22-hour drive.
The first stop was his sister-in-law’s home, but it certainly wasn’t the only stop. Mitchell and Isaiah Pinnock started servicing six to 10 homes a day, nearly 24-hours a day. At the peek of the crisis, the duo worked from seven a.m. to 2 a.m. the following morning. Emergency plumbers can cost an arm and a leg, but Mitchell insisted that clients only pay what they could afford.
“A lot of the people we’ve helped were telling us they either can’t get a plumber on the phone or—if they do get one on the phone—the wait to be serviced is three to four weeks out, so they can’t have water during that entire time,” Kisha Pinnock says.
CBS Uplift story on Andrew Mitchell.
One of his many clients, 71-year-old Barbara Benson had been without water for an entire week. The plumbers she managed to get ahold of said it would be weeks before they could get to her, and what’s worse, many gouged their prices during the crisis. She was told the fix would be several thousands of dollars.
“For a woman living by herself, you can get scammed easily and I was just pleasantly surprised,” Benson says. “It was like somebody’s watching out for me.”
Though the work is strenuous and time-consuming, Andrew Mitchell wouldn’t have it any other way. To him, being able to help others while doing what he loves is a blessing.
“It gets him going when people don’t have water,” Isaiah Pinnock says. “Similar to if a chef … were to hear somebody’s going hungry, it would be his main prerogative to get those people a nice plate of food.”
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