Answering the Call

CHRISTUS Spohn rebuilds lives and homes after Hurricane Harvey.

Special to Inspire Coastal Bend

Hurricane Harvey will likely go down as one of the most destructive storms in U.S. history, but Coastal Bend residents also will remember how the community banded together in the days following.

Among the thousands of South Texans who rolled up their sleeves were the associates of CHRISTUS Spohn who pitched in any way they could. Thousands of associates were on hand to help before, during and after the Category 4 hurricane made landfall in late August.

Justin Doss, president for CHRISTUS Spohn Health System, said due to annual training and associates’ spirits of going above and beyond, they were ready to assist. “During the hurricane, our associates served more than 300 patients and were proud to be the only provider to keep our doors open,” Doss shared. “We were honored to care for our neighbors under the most difficult conditions and support our EMS partners risking their lives in the storm to help others.”

After making sure their own families were safe, clinicians and support staff cared for patients in the height of the wind and rain, many sleeping in hallways or spare rooms just to be available to provide care around the clock. CHRISTUS Spohn associates even delivered babies during the early morning hours, the stories of which made broadcasts across the country.

Steve Kazanjian, vice president of mission integration for the health system, said it’s a duty and a calling for CHRISTUS Spohn associates to provide care. “It’s our mission to extend the healing ministry of Jesus Christ to all that we are privileged to serve,” Kazanjian added. “We’re very proud of the way they answer the call.”

Once the storm passed, work continued as CHRISTUS Spohn associates aided in cleanup and relief efforts. Funds were set up to help those who had been affected by the storm, a blessing for some who lost everything. In Rockport, Aransas Pass and Refugio, dozens of CHRISTUS Spohn associates rolled up their sleeves to clean up debris and mend fences. Doss said he was honored to participate in cleanup efforts and see firsthand how the CHRISTUS Spohn team stepped up.

The CHRISTUS Spohn Care Van also distributed hundreds of free flu shots to cleanup volunteers and residents to ensure they stayed healthy as they assisted others. That spirit of giving comes from the health system’s dedication to the Coastal Bend and its mission of caring, which is more than a century old, Doss added.

And thanks to the Diocese of Corpus Christi, CHRISTUS Spohn board members and corporate assistance from CHRISTUS Health, CHRISTUS Spohn was able be there when the community was most in need, he added. “When it came to Hurricane Harvey, our mission extended beyond the hospital walls,” Doss shared. “We’re proud to call South Texas home, and we’re here to help our neighbors any way we can for years to come.”

To see video of the cleanup efforts, visit

Photos courtesy of Christus Spohn