By David Taylor
CROSBY – Cory Nelson and his brother Shawn grew up as CUIC kids. The two boys, along with their mom, would visit Churches United In Caring in Crosby to shop for shoes and clothes at the thrift store.
“I never really thought anything of it at the time until I got older and realized why we were going there,” Cory said.
Times were tough and the family looked for deals to help survive.
Now the two Crosby brothers, graduates of Crosby High School, have carved out their own success in the oilfield business and are giving back to the charity that helped clothe them in their early life.
On Friday, the two brothers presented a check for $6,000 to CUIC leadership at their board meeting to help further the mission of helping others in need.
It comes on the heels of the 40th anniversary of CUIC.
“This gift from two clients we helped back in the 1990s personifies the mission of CUIC,” said CUIC President Skip Greenwade.
The funds come from a golf tournament the boys started and have grown over the last several years.
Cory is president of Big State Oilfield and works side by side with his brother Shawn who serves as vice president of the company.
“We grew up in Crosby and really didn’t realize how tough times were for our parents,” he said. “We always had food on the table and my wife Kristin, her family also shopped there and received assistance.”
Cory and Kristin graduated in 1998 and Shawn in 2004. College wasn’t in their future.
“I barely made it through school, so I was destined to be a vocational guy. My brother did fine in school, but the money wasn’t there for college,” he said humbly.
They went to work for an oilfield company and Cory became the operations manager.
“After 13 years, the owner was ready to retire and so my brother and I started our own business,” he said. The boys have increased the company to 35 employees and are still expanding.
Their success led them to participate in a fundraiser golf tournament for the Shriner’s Hospital in Galveston, but they felt like they should be helping their own community.
They organized it and for four years, they have hosted the golf tournament. Even giving to CUIC has continued to humble Cory.
“I felt bad about giving a $3,000 donation those early years,” he said, thinking about the six figure donations being made to the burn unit at Shriners.
“When we walked into their meeting back then to make the donation, they were so excited to receive that amount,” he said. “Some of the ladies had tears in their eyes. That was such a humbling experience.”
Now, the brothers continue to build the tournament so that their donation back to CUIC increases.
The mission of CUIC began in 1982 when the country was amid an economic recession.
“Many of these people had moved to Houston from northern states, and they did not have enough money to return home,” said Jody Fuchs in his narrative describing the early beginnings of the organization.
“They also lacked any family in the area to assist them in their time of need. Crosby had a small roadside park perched on the western banks of the San Jacinto River along old Highway 90. It was intended as a free overnight camping stop for travelers. However, it quickly grew into a long-term ‘Tent City’ that made world wide news,” Fuchs writes.
Local churches did their best to assist the wayfarers, but soon realized they were being taken advantage of.
“They would go from church to church requesting assistance,” Greenwade said, “and we thought we could eliminate that by working together.”
In late 1982, seven churches banded together to enter discussions for organizing a community food pantry. Those churches included Community Baptist Church of Crosby, Crosby Assembly of God, Crosby Brethren Church, Crosby United Methodist Church, First Baptist Church of Crosby, Sacred Heart Catholic Church, and the Second Baptist Church of Highlands.
CUIC opened its doors to the public in December of 1983 and remains a vital part of the community. From a small rent house to a racquetball and fitness center, the charity now sits on a one-acre lot on Church Street next to the Crosby Fair and Rodeo parking lot and continues to meet the needs of Crosby families.
The organization is entirely staffed by volunteers except for one cashier who manages the front of the thrift store.
This weekend, the Crosby community has an opportunity to support the charity and wish them a happy 40th at their 7th Annual Holiday Market. Note that the event is not held at the CUIC building but at Crosby United Methodist Church Family Life Center, 1334 Runneburg Road in Crosby from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
“Get there early!” said Judy van Tries, the treasurer for the charity. “There are lots of good deals including $3 wreaths and other nice items at incredible prices,” she said.
To learn more about CUIC, visit them on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/churchesunitedincaring/