(Feb. 21, 2018) -- Meet Jessica Beemer ’08, ’13. This Houston native jumped into action to help her community recover from Hurricane Harvey.
With a bachelor’s in political science, a master’s in public administration and solid professional experience in the public sector, Beemer landed a job working with Houston City Council Member Dave Martin of District E as his North Sector Manager. In that role, she assisted with city processes and constituent services in the Lake Houston/Kingwood area.
While working for the City, the UTSA alumna developed an emergency response manual, a task that took her about a month. It included information for the Houston Office of Emergency Management, city leaders, constables, school district contacts and leaders from neighboring jurisdictions in the event she needed to make quick contact with others during an emergency.
In January 2017, Beemer became the chief of staff for Councilman Martin, serving the entire council district, comprised of Lake Houston, Kingwood, Southeast Houston and Clearlake, Texas.
Seven months later, Hurricane Harvey slammed into Houston, dumping more than two feet of rain over Harris County and registering seven-day readings of more than 40 inches. Beemer knew as chief of staff that she needed to get to work.
With others at the City, Beemer began to monitor river levels during the storm to assess the emergency. She also dusted off the emergency manual she had developed a year earlier to call upon partners that could help her provide emergency relief efforts to the Kingwood and Clear Lake communities. More than 17,500 homes were devastated by the storm.
“I’ve never prayed for rain to stop so hard in my life,” Beemer remembers while relocating to the second floor of her Kingwood home. “All I was thinking about were the senior citizens on breathing machines who couldn’t get out and people that I knew in flooded neighborhoods who had health issues. We knew we were running against the clock to coordinate rescue operations, and we did the best we could in a critical situation.”
Following the storm, the UTSA alumna remained in her district. She organized rescue operations, set up emergency shelters and distributed food and supplies to victims, independent of the Red Cross.
Once Hurricane Harvey passed, Beemer took it upon herself to print community maps and survey District E to assess the storm damage and support the clean-up efforts. She jumped into action and created a platform for volunteers to help clean up debris in the storm-ravaged community.
With surrounding roads impassable, members of the community began showing up in boats to provide evacuation support to Houston residents. Beemer helped direct them to areas of the greatest need, where they remained for several days.
To gather as many helping hands as possible, Jessica also turned to her alma mater for help.
“Being as embedded in San Antonio as I was when I was an undergraduate, interning in the commissioner’s court and going through grad school, you become part of the city and people remember you.”
Indeed, San Antonians responded. San Antonio’s Solid Waste Management crew, for example, assisted in cleaning up over 100,000 tons of debris.
“I worked very closely with San Antonio Solid Waste Director David McCary for a little over a month helping familiarize his crews with the area,” Beemer said.
San Antonio crews picked up more than 100,000 tons of debris.
Private citizens also donated time, supplies and money to help Houston’s relief efforts.
Ultimately, Councilman Martin presented a City of Houston Proclamation to honor the City of San Antonio, sharing that the recognition in large part represented the effort and commitment Beemer displayed through her selfless acts and leadership.
Do you know a Roadrunner who is achieving great things? Email us at email@example.com so that we may consider your suggestion for our next installment of Meet a Roadrunner.
The Innovation Academy is an 8-hour online hybrid course designed to introduce faculty to a variety of educational ideas, best practices and resources for becoming more comfortable in teaching in different modalities.Virtual Event
Join us for a gathering of friends, faculty, staff and students as we celebrate the beginning of a new academic year, promote UTSA’s commitment to the San Antonio arts community, and preview our community art classes at the historic Southwest Campus.Main Gallery, John L. Santikos Building, UTSA Southwest Campus
The UTSA Alumni Association rowdily invites you to join your fellow 'Runners at the UTSA Alumni Association Gala.16641 La Cantera Pkwy, San Antonio, TX 78256
This will be an orientation for students with a history of foster care.Business Building (BB 2.05.04,) Main Campus
The Honors College and Housing & Residence Life invites students to the Student Union lawn for a Movie Under the Stars. Bring a lawn chair or blanket, a picnic, and bug spray. Movie concessions will be provided! This event is open to all students.Student Union Lawn, Main Campus
Come meet your Student Success Center, learn how to MOVE through college successfully, and meet new friends. We will have food, short info sessions, giveaways, and more!McKinney Humanities Building (MH 2.01 Galleria,) Main Campus
Get help finding your way around campus. UTSA Ambassadors and Honors Alliance members can help you find your classes, UTSA Card, and any other resources around campus! Simply come by our table in the Sombrilla!Roadrunner Statue, Main Campus
The University of Texas at San Antonio is dedicated to the advancement of knowledge through research and discovery, teaching and learning, community engagement and public service. As an institution of access and excellence, UTSA embraces multicultural traditions and serves as a center for intellectual and creative resources as well as a catalyst for socioeconomic development and the commercialization of intellectual property - for Texas, the nation and the world.
To be a premier public research university, providing access to educational excellence and preparing citizen leaders for the global environment.
We encourage an environment of dialogue and discovery, where integrity, excellence, inclusiveness, respect, collaboration and innovation are fostered.
UTSA is a proud Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) as designated by the U.S. Department of Education.
The University of Texas at San Antonio, a Hispanic Serving Institution situated in a global city that has been a crossroads of peoples and cultures for centuries, values diversity and inclusion in all aspects of university life. As an institution expressly founded to advance the education of Mexican Americans and other underserved communities, our university is committed to ending generations of discrimination and inequity. UTSA, a premier public research university, fosters academic excellence through a community of dialogue, discovery and innovation that embraces the uniqueness of each voice.