Roving Reporter | "Strait to Rockport!" by Jeanette Larson

George Strait

It was pretty clear that the most popular person visiting Rockport on Thursday, September 21 was country star George Strait. A huge crowd, estimated at more than 2,000, waited for over two hours in the morning sun for the "King of Country," often spontaneously bursting into cheers and song. Joining Strait at the Ace Hardware store were federal, state and local officials, including Mayor CJ Wax, city council members, and city manager, Kevin Carruth. The event was an opportunity to show that Rockport was again open for business and for state and federal officials to meet with locals.

Gov. Abbott (l) George Strait (c), John Sharp (maroon jacket) and Mayor CJ Wax (right)

After an introduction by Mayor CJ Wax, the crowd listened to Gov. Greg Abbott reminisce about his earlier visit to Rockport, a few days after Harvey wrecked havoc on the area. Gov. Abbott mentioned that while a lot of attention has been paid to Houston, he is well aware of the need in Rockport. He also recognized the outstanding hard work of Rockport's first responders and volunteers. He then introduced Texas A&M Chancellor John Sharp who, according to Abbott, will spearhead customer service assistance for local officials. Local leaders and officials will have direct phone numbers to call for help in resolving concerns and complaints from residents. Land Commissioner George P. Bush was introduced as the person who will lead the state's housing recovery efforts as the state's Community Block Grant DeveloperHomeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke, who oversees the federal department that includes FEMA, thanked the people of Rockport, who have "come together in support of each other." 

Waiting for Strait and officials
Strait, who owns a home in Rockport that was also damaged, told those gathered that Rockport, Fulton, and Aransas Pass "won't be forgotten." Strait shared that he'd had lunch at a local restaurant and was amazed that the businesses were already re-opening.  Last week, Strait headlined a benefit concert in San Antonio that sold out within 20 minutes. last week, Strait headlined the Hand in Hand Texas benefit concert, which raised more than $44 million for Hurricane Harvey relief efforts. The show sold out within 20 minutes of going on sale. Following today's comments, George Strait hung around to meet local fans and sign autographs.

Pat Rios (left) and City Manager Kevin Carruth (teal shirt) 

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