Several days after the tornado, Troy Cox was picking up broken fences with neighbors’ permission so he could finish a home improvement project.
When the Rowlett resident saw people’s lives in shambles but was worried about finishing a project at his undamaged home, he felt compelled to switch it up a bit.
And Rowlett Rustic Creations was born.
Cox began crafting creations out of debris from homes: a piece of wood carved into the shape of Texas, or a wooden star with the Rowlett “R” emblazoned on it. Some interested customers wanted wood from their home to say “Bless this House.”
Cox and his wife, Alesia, began posting on Facebook about the venture and how they’d be donating its proceeds to the Rowlett Chamber of Commerce’s tornado relief fund. Cox said he didn’t want to donate the proceeds to bigger entities like American Red Cross or The Salvation Army because the money wouldn’t go directly to the community.
Orders started pouring in for Rustic Creations. People were offering debris from their ravaged homes.
“It’s been so overwhelming that I think at some point, it might be smart to make a business out of it,” Cox said.
With such a quick and significant response, the couple’s family members have worked together to keep the overflow of orders organized. Gail Roesle, Cox’s sister-in-law, compiles names, numbers and creation requests.
Even the Rowlett High School band has requested a piece to auction off for profit. Cox said he eventually wants to create a memento for the Rowlett Fire Department as well as something for surrounding police departments.
Cox works night and day to catch up on back orders. The Cox’s dining room is full of creations waiting to be picked up by customers affected by the tornado.
Cox, previously a tattoo artist and car salesman, has turned his garage full of woodchip shavings into a Rustic Creations workshop.
The family has no idea how long orders will come in to them. Cox hopes to use it as a starting point for a business they could profit from at some point.
For now, though, he’ll keep putting the money into the tornado relief fund.