In Houston,‘Mattress Mack’ continues to give back

DOVER — It was the nickname that caught our attention.

“Mattress Mack” — as he’s known in Houston, Texas — was in the national news this past week.

Jim McIngvale is his real name.

He’s a businessman with a heart as big as Texas and a Gallery Furniture store that seems as big as Delaware.

As floodwaters rose in Houston, he opened two stores as shelters last weekend. He even sent around a delivery truck to help rescue some people.

CBS Morning News featured the effort in its ongoing series, “A More Perfect Union.”

“I was grinning from ear to ear,” said Joan Cote, of Dover, when she saw him on television. “That man still hasn’t stopped giving back to his community.

“I wasn’t surprised, at all, and it made my heart happy to know he hasn’t changed a bit since I met him all those years ago.”

Back in 2009, Mattress Mack was quietly going about philanthropy to USO centers and this column featured a story on his work with then-USO Delaware director Joan Cote to furnish two new centers at Dover Air Force Base.

At his request, Ms. Cote went to pick out the furnishings for the USO lounge at a passenger terminal and another much-needed rest and relaxation area for staff inside the Charles C. Carson Center for Mortuary Affairs.

The value of the furnishings was about $30,000.

The two locations at Dover Air Force Base are just two of 130 USO centers around the world that Gallery Furniture assisted.

“I believe that you get more out of it than you put into it,” said Mr. McIngvale at the time.

Last Sunday, Gallery Furniture posted a message on its Facebook page that it would take in people in need of shelter and even welcomed kenneled pets.

In a live video Sunday, he said, “With God’s grace, we’ll all get through this better and stronger than ever because that’s who we are. We are Texans. My daughter’s favorite saying is, ‘If not for my struggle, I would not have known my strength.’”

At his two stores-turned-shelters, people were resting on mattresses, recliners, sofas and home theater seats in the store and eating meals on the stores tables. The showroom in Houston is about 160,000 square feet.

On Monday, he told NPR that there were 400 people sheltered in his stores.

In the CBS News report, he said it cost $30,000 to $40,000 to stay open and shelter evacuees during the crisis.

“We can afford that and what we can’t afford is to cause these people to lose hope, we got to give them hope,” Mr.

In a live video last Sunday, Jim McIngvale invited Houston residents in need of shelter to stay in his furniture stores.

McIngvale said in the report. “This is what my parents would have done.”

He choked backed emotions after sharing his thoughts.

Daily, there are scriptures posted on the Gallery Furniture website.

Last Sunday, it was 1 Corinthians 16:14.

“Do everything in love.”

***

On Thursday, Mr. McIngvale launched Rebuild-TX, a grass-roots effort that offers assistance to Texans who have been affected by flooding and other damages to their homes related to Hurricane Harvey.

A GoFundMe page said the effort would provide “volunteers who will assist affected Texans in rebuilding their homes by helping to move out any damaged furniture, remove damaged carpet and material underneath, remove damaged wood flooring or damaged tile, and cutting out and removing damaged sheetrock.”

The effort will be focused in Houston and surrounding communities.

For information, visit www.galleryfurniture.com/gofundme.

***

  • It is hard to put in perspective just how much rain Harvey dumped on Houston and the gulf.
  • In Delaware, the annual rainfall is about 45 inches.
  • In volume, some of the experts in our region have said it would top 18 trillion gallons. The Baltimore Sun and Washington Post each reported that is more water than the Chesapeake Bay.

***

The Delaware State News, in recent days, has reported on local efforts to help in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. For more information, visit www.DelawareStateNews.net.

High school football fans will want to get a copy of Thursday’s Delaware State News.

It will include the annual Henlopen Conference preview section.

As you might guess, Smyrna High is on the cover.

The Eagles will be going for their third consecutive state title. They begin the season with a 22-game winning streak.

 

Reach editor Andrew West at awest@newszap.com

You are encouraged to leave relevant comments but engaging in personal attacks, threats, online bullying or commercial spam will not be allowed. All comments should remain within the bounds of fair play and civility. (You can disagree with others courteously, without being disagreeable.) Feel free to express yourself but keep an open mind toward finding value in what others say. To report abuse or spam, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box.