The Mayor of Tyler, Texas, The Honorable Martin Heines, announced a partnership with East Texas based non-profit, Hand Up Network.  The Hand Up Network will provide Oversight and Management of multiple COVID19 facilities based at Tyler Junior College that are designed to provide support and respite care for First Responders for the Texas County of Smith and supporting responders from surrounding counties.  When announcing this partnership Heines stated “Hand Up Network is a non profit ministry that deals with Emergency Services and they have agreed to come alongside and help us with this effort.”

Hand Up Network is comprised of a team of people with a broad level of experience dealing with issues of global extreme poverty and natural disasters that came back home to provide long term support to people going through tough seasons in life.  Hand Up Network CEO, Sam Smith, stated “We are honored to come alongside the City of Tyler and our Emergency Management Partners to bring support to our Heroes, the First Responders of East Texas and ensure that they receive a level of care and support in line with the care they provide all of us on a daily basis.”

The Respite Care Facilities consist of two large dormitory facilities on the campus of Tyler Junior College.  One will be charged with providing a quarantine location for First Responders that have been exposed to people with the COVID19 virus and must enter a 14 Day quarantine and don’t want to go home and expose their families.  The other facility will provide a respite care location to allow First Responders a location to gets some rest, take a shower, get a warm meal and even do some laundry when conditions and timing do not allow them to go home.

Smith added “This is an opportunity for all of East Texas to say thank you to our Heroes that are protecting all of us.  We will be reaching out into the community to find those interested in providing a specific list of items that will go into a thank you bag.  An example of items will be laundry pods, microwave popcorn and snacks, body wash, shampoo, etc. We also want kids in our community to write notes of thanks and encouragement that we can drop in these bags to let these people know how much we love and appreciate their work on our behalf”

Mayor Heines also stated “Please go to and Donate to Hand Up Network and give anything you can as you will help them help us!”

Any organization or individuals that are interested in participating in the Gift Bag for First Responders Program, or wanting the full list and additional information, can call 903-597-5334 or e-mail

HAND UP NETWORK™ is a 501c3 non-profit based in Tyler, TX that has assembled an international team of leaders with decades of experience with a desire to come back home and bring focus to those in need in local communities.  The Network offers long-term programs to people seeking a new season in life and response teams designed to address community issues and emergency response. The Network provides intentional volunteer opportunities for people wanting to provide support within their programs and opportunities to engage via Response Teams.  The Hand Up Network was awarded the Guidestar Platinum Seal of Transparency for 2020!  This is the highest level of achievement possible.