Located in Santa Rosa Beach, Sunburst Beach Vacations has been in business for more than 12 years. The staff is local, so they understand the risk and reward of living in the area. It’s no wonder that their team monitors each Atlantic hurricane with interest.
As Hurricane Harvey approached the Texas coast last month, Sunburst watched the disaster unfold. The Emerald Coast, virtually untouched, would get a pass, but in and around Houston the rain forecasts grew, and the enormity of flooding became a devastating reality.
“The disaster created an unprecedented need for assistance that will continue for months,” said Founder David Leuze. “Our management team and staff, and our owner group all came together so quickly to put our excess into the hands of those in need. Our hearts and prayers go out to all the people affected by the recent hurricanes, and we will continue to look for ways to help them through recovery.”
After the storm, Emily Conant, one of the newly appointed general managers of Sunburst Beach Vacations, began calling homeowners based in East Texas for whom Sunburst manages vacation rental homes. The Houston-area residents had been spared significant damage to their personal property but knew many displaced neighbors and friends who had lost nearly everything.
Meanwhile, Vijay Cohoon, Sunburst’s other new general manager, had just finalized the construction of a new laundry facility, converting the private laundry to a modernized plant. Via a high-quality linen pool, Sunburst will now be providing towels and bed linens from the new plant. The privately-owned linens had been cleaned, bagged and stacked for final delivery, all ready to be returned to the owners.
Sunburst began reaching out to their homeowner group to facilitate the return of their linens. Alicia Hartsfield, a Houston–based owner with a rental cottage in Rosemary Beach, asked to have her linens sent to her in Houston. She intended to give them to her flooded-out neighbors. Conant asked if she could use more, and a useful solution arose to help Hurricane Harvey Flood victims. The Sunburst team began reaching out to all of their owners to ask if they were able to donate their linens to help Harvey flood victims and the response was overwhelming.
Cohoon quickly arranged for a shipping POD to be brought to the Sunburst office in Seagrove and within a week the owner group had committed nearly 90 homes worth of towels and bed linens. The POD was loaded and shipped to Houston, where Alicia awaited to distribute the bounty to local victims through various church and civic volunteer organizations.
“Sunburst manages approximately 130 homes along 30A,” said Conant, “and our ownership group stretches from California to the northeast and all across the south. When they heard we were trying to help out the Houston flood victims, they responded so strongly; it was inspiring."
"That’s nearly 6,000 pounds of freshly laundered linens bagged by hand, organized and personally loaded for shipping — that’s three tons,” Cohoon added.