Port Arthur native honored for Harvey work in Houston

Published 12:17 pm Monday, May 21, 2018

By Lorenzo Salinas



Heroes from Hurricane and Tropical Storm Harvey were honored recently in Houston, and among them one Port Arthur native.

Patrick Britton is a sergeant with the Port Arthur Police Department and was named as one of the “Heroes of Houston” by Shell. He had his picture displayed at the company’s Wall of Heroes last week, an interactive solar-powered art installation in Discovery Green.

“I’m proud of it, but one of the things I express wholeheartedly is that while I’m proud and honored to receive this type of recognition, it’s completely a total representation of what the city did,” Britton said.

“I didn’t do anything different from what any first-responder or citizen did during that time. My efforts were completely a total mirror of what everyone else was doing.”

Britton’s portrait went up with 152 other heroes’ pictures in a digital slideshow where grateful visitors or residents could have written a digital thank you note and posted it alongside a “selfie” on an electronic screen with the hashtag #makethefuture.

Patrick Britton’s picture is displayed alongside 152 other heroes in a digital slideshow on the Wall of Heroes at Discovery Green in Houston. (Courtesy photo)

“For the past few months, Shell has encouraged the public to nominate their neighbors who went above and beyond to help their community during the disaster,” the company said in an issued news release.

Both during and after Tropical Storm Harvey, Britton worked 36 hours straight — 15 of which were spent rescuing people on a boat. In addition, he worked as incident commander at temporary shelters after Harvey as well as a liaison for the city with Baptist Children and Family Services.

In March, Britton organized “Meet Me at the Pavilion,” a grassroots march in downtown Port Arthur aimed at uniting the community and seeking improvement for the city.

“I put on ‘Meet Me at the Pavilion’ where it received something like 1,200 people,” he said. “And since then, I’ve seen the community become more eager and hungry to be part of putting other programs together.”

Britton said it was part of an effort to rally leaders of various organizations to help enact change.

“People are coming to understand that they can’t just depend on one source or entity to do it for them,” Britton said. “They’re understanding that to bring order, it takes the entire community…

“They’re the strongest force of this community, and I want to educate them on their voice and to help them understand the importance their voice carries and the changes they could make possible.”

Britton has been recognized numerous times for his efforts during and after the storm. He has received the 2018 Ford Freedom Unsung “Heroes of Harvey” award, the 4040 Harvey’s Heroes honor and a White House Congressional Commendation.

However, Britton readily puts the city and the community first, as he regularly cites first-responders and ordinary citizens for their Harvey-related, heroic work.

To demonstrate that, Britton took the Ford award he received in Houston and presented it to the city of Port Arthur.

“There’s no reason why that award should sit at my house when it’s the work we all had done,” Britton said.

“I’ve never seen another community in my 35 years on this earth that has come together like this one in trying times. Usually when destruction happens, people scatter; but our community stayed here and literally went out and rescued people, put them in shelters.

“Even when some of them were losing their own homes, the community was out there seeking shelter for others.”

Britton declared people’s responses to Harvey and afterwards as the greatest number of selfless acts he had ever seen.

“I want the community to know that they’re all honored in this… they are the true heroes.”

The Wall of Heroes was displayed from May 10 to May 13 at Discovery Green in downtown Houston.