When Hurricane Harvey hit Houston hard in September 2017, Dr. Darrell Smith’s world was turned upside down.
His veterinary practice – Clay Road Animal Clinic – was underwater and needed extensive renovations due to the electrical and sheetrock damage from the flooding.
“I was in shock by everything that was happening – just like everyone else,” Dr. Smith admitted.
Unable to get to his practice for almost a week, Dr. Smith knew he had to take action. His home was fine, but his business was devastated. He had no income coming in as a result of being closed. Plus, he couldn’t help his clients, and their animals – who were in desperate need of his help.
“I saw some pictures from people who lived near the clinic and how high the water had gotten. I had to get a game plan going forward. I did some research and I got in touch with a representative from Magnum Mobile (Specialty Vehicles). To help our customers and the animals, I knew I had to become a mobile clinic.
“We couldn’t sit back and feel sorry for ourselves.”
Mobile Vet Unit To The Rescue
Magnum Mobile referred Dr. Smith to Stearns Bank and account manager Jaclyn Vogel for his commercial equipment financing needs. He was able to find the vehicle he needed from Magnum Mobile and financed it through Stearns Bank.
Dr. Smith never had commercial equipment financing with Stearns Bank before, but he was impressed with the easy approval process and personal service.
“The experience with Stearns Bank was very pleasant. Everyone was fantastic and super nice when I called in,” Dr. Smith said. “I would have no issues working with them again because a lot of times equipment financing with a bank feels impersonal. If we needed something, Jaclyn was there for us.
“With our situation with the hurricane, it just really seemed like they cared. They were very positive and got things done.”
Once his commercial equipment financing was finalized, and he had his mobile vet unit in use, Dr. Smith got to work helping his customers.
Putting Mobile Unit To Good Use
The mobile unit was his only option for animal exams and surgeries, while his clinic was rebuilt.
“You can’t examine a cat in an environment like we had in the clinic,” Smith said. “The mobile vet unit was something we had kicked around in the past when we first bought the practice. We had the need for it and continued to do what we could for our clients. We were lucky we were able to get it so quickly to help these animals.”
Clay Road Animal Clinic used the mobile vet unit extensively until the clinic reopened in December 2017.
“We used it quite a bit for those three months until the clinic was ready again,” Dr. Smith said. “My wife will probably use it at some assisted living places a few days a week to help with their animals in the future. We don’t want those older folks to take their pets to other places where they would have to travel.”
Dr. Smith learned a lot from his ordeal after Hurricane Harvey. But he hopes he never has to relive the experience.
“This was something you can’t prepare for,” he said. “It’s been fascinating to learn everybody’s stories from the hurricane. We’ve helped a lot of our clients, and that has been rewarding for us. But none of that would have been possible without Stearns Bank’s help.”