We Have to Help People - Joe Bland & Kevin Fleming on Building The Refuge Ranch
Please take the time to watch this video: “We Have to Help People." And please share it with your friends, so more people can see the heart and dedication these gentlemen bring daily to building a place of hope and healing for child sex trafficking survivors.
We Have to Help People" - Joe Bland & Kevin Fleming on Building The Refuge Ranch
Instead of drone footage, this month we are staying on the ground to tell the story of why Joe Bland, Joe Bland Construction, and Kevin Fleming, Square One Consultants, have devoted a superhuman amount of their time and talent to helping us build The Refuge Ranch.
Please, if you will, take the time to watch this video: “We Have to Help People." And please share it with your friends, so more people can see the heart and dedication these gentlemen bring daily to building a place of hope and healing for child sex trafficking survivors.
Joe and Kevin met fifteen years ago through their sons’ high school football team. One gentleman painted the lines on the field and the other ran the chains during the game. At The Refuge Ranch they’ve joined forces again. Joe and his team are essentially taking care of all the below ground work, while Kevin and his team manage all the above ground work.
According to a groundbreaking two-year study (PDF) by the Institute on Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault (IDVSA) at The University of Texas at Austin School of Social Work, there are almost 79,000 minors and youth victims of sex trafficking in Texas today.
We asked Joe what about that daunting number and what has motivated him to help. Why, when it is too hot or too cold and rainy, does he still climb in his truck and head to the site?
“I can’t even imagine the loss these girls must feel,” said Joe. “I can’t imagine the overwhelming need for care and compassion to be able to allow them the time necessary to re-join their families, friends and classmates. This problem is huge and the task can be overwhelming when you consider the number of young girls affected by this evil nightmare. But we’ve got to start somewhere. And that somewhere is The Refuge Ranch.”
We asked Kevin why this particular cause? What, when the nightly news is fraught with calamity and injustice, propels him to contribute to this particular cause?
“I personally can’t stop mass shootings, hurricanes, and earthquakes,” said Kevin. “I can’t make a dent in terrorism, racism, poverty, war or hunger. But I can help save one child at time. Instead of cowering in front of the television or cursing at Facebook, I try to concentrate on the next right thing that I can do make a difference during times like these.”
“It’s important for the donor community to understand the organizations that they are already supporting, that they have relationships with, still need [donations] because they are part of the end game; they are part of the long process. So an organization that you support may not be providing immediate disaster relief, but down the road they might be providing educational opportunities, outlets for creativity, educational needs, housing, health care, mental health. So those organizations still need to be very viable and a very sustainable community to support all these people throughout.”
Risk factors for our most vulnerable children do increase after natural disasters -- see this Huffington Post article, “Hurricane Harvey and the Increased Risk of Sex Trafficking and Child Sexual Abuse.”
We need your help now more than ever. Every day we are getting closer to opening for our first group of girls.
“The Story of The Refuge” is our series of newsletter articles that highlight the people and organizations who are working together to build The Refuge Ranch.