On the Road but Thoughts are Back Home in Texas
Erb’s and Bagley’s hearts weigh heavy for their home state
(Special to Kayla May)
Tyler Erb, the youngest full-time driver on the World of Outlaws Craftsman® Late Model Series tour, is away from home during the most severe natural disaster to ever hit his native Texas-Hurricane Harvey.
“I got a text from my mom [Wednesday] saying that the rain had finally stopped there,” Erb said. “As far as my family, fortunately, they are all fine. Luckily, I don’t even think we even got water within 20 feet of our house or shop, but the surrounding area has gotten two feet of water. It definitely doesn’t affect me as much as it has affected others. A lot of my friends have lost their houses and all that. They are going to have to rebuild and start over.”
Erb, 20, and his family reside in New Waverly, TX, about an hour north of Houston. With the Outlaws coming off recent races in Michigan, Erb and his one-man-crew of Chris Jayko have yet to return to Texas as they look ahead to events this weekend in Pennsylvania on Saturday at Lernerville Speedway and Sunday at Selinsgrove Speedway. To ease the travel burden, Erb and Jayko are staying at Rocket Chassis in nearby Shinnston, WV. The duo plans to return to Texas prior to the series races in Oklahoma and Kansas later in September.
Although Erb is away from home, he has been in contact with family and friends during the tragic event that has affected many.
“My buddies that have boats have been able to go out and pick up dogs and people, but until the water goes down there’s not really much you can do right now,” Erb said. “It’s not like there’s a drain you can go pull to get rid of the water. You just have to wait for it to evaporate and then you can start rebuilding. That is going to be when people really need help. People need water and stuff now, but in three months when these people still don’t have a house I think that’s where people should focus more on helping, once everyone is safe.”
Erb’s main sponsor, First Class Septic, is owned-and-operated by Tyler’s parents, Mark and Sandra Erb. The company, based out of New Waverly, provides a variety of services to the surrounding counties. In addition to installing septic systems, the company offers an array of construction services, including foundations, water lines, decks, porches, backhoe work, set electrical light poles, wiring (pole to home), and utility hookups.
No doubt he and his family will play a large role in the rebuilding process.
“Definitely. One hundred percent. I guarantee you that we do a lot of the rebuilding around Galveston [TX]. Just septics, and maybe our dump trucks will go to use too. It will keep us busy for a while.”
Sandra Erb, Tyler’s mom and owner of First Class Septic, agreed with her son that they will get involved with the restoration process for their community. When thinking back to the last hurricane that hit the area, Hurricane Ike, Sandra commented that First Class Septic was still helping years after the initial hit.
“It will be two or three years down the road and these communities will still be rebuilding,” she said. “[First Class Septic] will become involved years down the road once they have finally got everything cleaned up. It will be years before things get back to normal around here, but we will be helping that process in every way that we can.”
Fortunately, Morgan Bagley, another of the native Texas drivers touring with the World of Outlaws, and his family are also safe from the grasps of Hurricane Harvey. Residing in the northeastern Texas city of Longview, they have not sustained damage from the hurricane.
“Texas is a big state, and fortunately my family is safe, but my heart goes out to all of those who have been affected by this storm,” Bagley said.
While Erb’s family and Bagley’s family are safe from some of the devastation, there is still a long road ahead for the people of Texas. The World of Outlaws encourages our many fans to help in whatever way they can.