SPRINGVILLE – A plumbing company from Utah County raced to Lufkin, Texas, to help people with broken pipes following the severe winter weather and ice storm that hit the area last month.
Frank Hatch didn’t know for sure what he was getting into. He only knew that he wanted to do something.
“I need to help in this country, and I need to feel a part of something,” said Hatch.
He said those words last month just before he and his workers left for Texas.
Hatch owns Imperial Plumbing in Springville, and after the ice storm that hit Texas left millions of people with frozen and broken pipes, Hatch knew his expertise could help them.
He and his team just returned to Texas this week after almost a month in the Lufkin, Texas, area.
“The destruction was incredible. Worse than I ever imagined,” he said. “The plumbing that they use, their water lines just shattered. So, we were basically re-plumbing the whole house for them and this is obviously people that couldn’t afford it.”
Hatch and his crew worked on dozens of homes for free.
They crawled underneath them in some of the most challenging conditions even the most experienced plumbers have ever faced.
“It rained the whole time we were there,” said Hatch. “They were laying in raw sewage, feces from animals, things like that. And they never complained once.”
Some of his workers got sick.
A couple of their work trucks broke down.
And it often seemed like the work would never end.
“We would go back to the room after a 12-hour day and your boots are soaked. No way to dry them. Things like that,” said Hatch.
Through it all, though, the job was about as rewarding as any he has ever been on.
Most of the people Imperial Plumbing helped didn’t think they would get help from anyone.
I needed my way to do things to help the human race and to make things better in America and to show that everybody still cares
“It was definitely worth it,” said Hatch. “My workers, they just loved when the person would come out. Tears would be running down their face.”
After KSL covered the story of them leaving, many people wanted to help Hatch with money.
He says he used that money to help people repair their homes beyond plumbing, with broken windows, appliances, furniture.
“I told them it was from the people of Utah who wanted to help,” said Hatch.
It was an experience he’ll never forget.
It’s also one he admitted he needed after so much political division the past few years.
“I needed my way to do things to help the human race and to make things better in America and to show that everybody still cares,” said Hatch. “My workers are young men in their 20’s and it was great for them to see this.”
Because, in a disaster like the one they were in, it doesn’t matter if you’re Republican, Democrat or whatever.
All that matters is someone needs help, and Hatch wanted to be a part of that.
“I wish we really could’ve helped more,” he said. “But what we did help, it was amazing.”