Even Hurricanes Have Silver Linings
PROVO, Utah – Jun 25, 2018 – BYU Marriott alum Jason Graham has learned to expect the unexpected.
In August 2017, Hurricane Harvey dropped fifteen trillion gallons of water on the city of Houston. Rivers and reservoirs quickly filled and flooded the area around Graham’s home. He evacuated with his wife, Sarah, and their five children as their house filled with six feet of water and was damaged beyond repair.
“It was a scary time,” Graham says. “We were blessed that no one in my family got sick or hurt.”
Hurricane Harvey devastated Houston just three years after the Graham family moved to the city on a work assignment with Andersen Tax, where Graham has worked since 2002. He relocated from San Francisco to help build the company’s new branch in Houston.
“I was born and raised in California, and I anticipated staying there my entire life,” Graham says. “When the opportunity arose, we felt strongly that we needed to move. Houston is where Heavenly Father needs us to be.”
Graham had similar feelings when deciding on a major as an undergraduate student at BYU. He initially chose to pursue a degree in psychology. Following a recommendation from his brother, Graham took an accounting course as an elective. He enjoyed the class so much that he switched his major.
“Accounting just clicked for me and felt comfortable,” Graham says. “The accounting program taught me how to think analytically and find answers to problems, which is a skill set that has helped me throughout my entire career.”
Graham first took a job at Arthur Andersen after graduating with his MAcc degree from the School of Accountancy at BYU Marriott in 1998. He worked as a senior associate in private client services until the company shut down following the Enron scandal. Instead of transferring to a different company, Graham joined with two hundred former Arthur Andersen employees to start a new, tax-only firm, which is now called Andersen Tax. Graham is currently the managing director of the Houston branch.
The Andersen Tax office in uptown Houston escaped the storm unscathed, safely nestled on the forty-fourth floor of a business skyscraper. However, operations halted for two weeks because employees couldn’t travel to the office because of flooded roads. Graham’s home remained underwater during this time, so he and his family spent their time helping others.
In addition to serving, Graham and his family were recipients of an outpouring of support. Graham estimates that over one-hundred people, including college students, neighbors, church members, and even strangers, assisted the family in cleaning out their home. A coworker lent Graham his car for two months, and another housed the Grahams until the family could find a place to stay.
“It’s unbelievable how much help we received,” Graham says. “I never felt like I was doing anything on my own, and my heart is full of so much gratitude.”
The Graham family saw many silver linings following the storm. They are thankful for the relationships they formed with their community as the people of Houston united together to serve. The family looks forward to rebuilding their home and remaining in the city for many years.
“While it was hard, I’m grateful to have gone through that experience, and I have fond memories of that time,” Graham says. “It brought our family closer together, and we got to see the best of humankind.”
Media Contact: Jordan Christiansen (801) 422-8938
Writer: Maggie Kuta