Gumbo Friday | On the road for Hurricane Harvey relief

Lost Pines Toyota's Carlos and Laurie Liriano honor first responders by taking their Gumbo Friday on the road

Most of the time when we think about an “anniversary,” it conjures up a pleasant memory. For Laurie and Carlos Liriano and family and the Lost Pines Toyota team in Bastrop, TX, that isn’t always true.

At the time the decision was being made to locate Lost Pines Toyota in Bastrop, TX, the state’s most costly wildfire erupted on Labor Day, September 4, 2011. It would not be extinguished until six weeks later, after charring more than 34,000 acres and destroying just under 1,700 homes and businesses.

It would have been easy to move on and locate in another city that did not face such a challenge to rebuild and return to normalcy. However, the Lirianos decided that the city needed some good news; so Lost Pines Toyota located on Hwy. 71 in Bastrop, TX.

You see, they understand the need for good news better than a lot of people. It was just before Labor Day, August 29, 2005 that Hurricane Katrina slammed into the Louisiana and Mississippi gulf coasts flooding most of New Orleans and surrounding communities and destroying numerous cities. The family had to evacuate their home in Metairie, adjacent to New Orleans and would not return for six months. Friends and family members lost everything. Good news did not come for a long time.

On the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, August 29, 2017, Hurricane Harvey finally made landfall on the Texas coast. It wiped out cities like Rockport and Port Aransas, on its way to completely inundate the majority of Houston before continuing its swath of destruction and flooding to the Louisiana border and beyond. The City of LaGrange in adjoining Fayette County, suffered severe home flooding.

It was the Lirianos’ unique understanding of the need for good news that led them to take their popular Gumbo Friday on the Road to LaGrange. Working with the city’s emergency services director, Laurie and her team arrived on the Friday before Labor Day with gumbo, rice, water desserts, and lots of smiles, prepared to serve 400 people.

The LPT Gumbo Team served evacuees, first responders, EMS personnel and firefighters, FEMA staff, and city and county employees. There were smiles and tears and hugs. Lost Pines Toyota always stands ready to help whenever there is a need. It’s more than selling cars; it’s what you do when you are part of the community.

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