It’s estimated that a majority of water rescues in Houston over the last week were done by private citizens, due to the lack of resources available during such a catastrophic event as Hurricane Harvey. A number of those rescuers came from the Leader area. Here is one story from a Garden Oaks woman who said she does not want to be identified because she didn’t want recognition for her efforts. She was willing, however, to share her story.
“We are in Garden Oaks. We were going through Facebook to see who needed help and saw a post from a friend. When we first asked her if she needed help she said it was not an emergency but then it was. The water was 12 inches when my husband got to her but still rising. Then we started asking on social media who else needed help. My husband has a Ford F-250 which is jacked up. We also borrowed a friends’ canoe. We’ve been to so many places it is all a blur.
One place we went was a neighborhood in Memorial. A friend said they had family there who needed help. First we had to figure out if we could get there. We drove down Eldridge to get to Memorial and saw people walking in waist deep water lifting their car seats with their babies in the air.
We were pretty confident we could get to my friends’ parents’ neighborhood but had to stop at the entrance. We saw an elderly man who had come from a house and was laying on the ground. We didn’t know if he’d had a heart attack or what was wrong but he was alive. A group of men lifted him and put him in the back of a truck to go to a hospital.
Then, my husband waited with the truck at the entrance and my friend and I pushed the canoe into the neighborhood. It was a pretty good distance to my friends’ parents’ house. We heard people calling for help from balconies and we would ask them how many people who were with them and asked if they had animals. If they didn’t have kids or animals we encouraged them to come out and wade to the entrance of the neighborhood where they could be picked up. If they did have animals or children we told them that help would be on the way.
When we got to my friend’s parents’ house, the mom had already been rescued but the dad had a leg injury and was still here. We got him and their 87-year old neighbor. Then we heard kids calling for help and turned the corner going against the current looking door to door but couldn’t figure out where they were which was upsetting.
We saw others on canoes too trying to help including a 16-year old Stratford High School student and his father. We still were hearing a lot of people yelling for help but only had so much room in the canoe. We heard that there was water being released from a dam and that the water levels were going to get higher by noon. It was 11:45. We saw Coast Guard boats at the entrance to the neighborhood when we came back out. I am so glad we had the means to help people like this. I’m always going to remember the people calling for help and feel bad we couldn’t get to them all.”
NOTE: Local officials are saying that at least 46 deaths were related to the storm across Texas. An overwhelming number of people were indeed rescued thanks to national and state agencies, and to ordinary citizens.