Stories of How Harvey and Irma Brought Out the Best in America’s Emergency Responders

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This Fall has already seen record-breaking hurricanes in Texas and Florida. But we’ve also seen emergency responders and heroic citizens respond in ways that remind us of the best in humanity. Here are a few stories and pictures of hurricane heroics from both Harvey and Irma. 

Flood waters surround Ben Taub Hospital in Houston August 27 (courtesy Charles Fisher, KTRK-TV).

Mark Holmes, a paramedic for the Houston Fire Department, gets a warm welcome after pulling a nearly 50-hour shift in the days following Hurricane Harvey. “We did our best to get critical patients to the hospital on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday morning which is when my relief arrived. Most of the shift was very frustrating due to impassable roadways. We were unable to make it to many patients due to the high water. We did reach some people with the ambulance and were able to transport them to ER hospitals. Some of the patients we made it to hours after they called when the water receded some. We also transported patients from a high-ground rally point where rescues were brought by high-water-vehicles, after they had been rescued by boat. I drove home at 8:00 am Monday morning. I was a little emotional after the shift to be honest … maybe I was trying to hide it from [the boys]. I had to leave my truck on an overpass a few miles from home because every freeway exit was flooded. I walked a little way and my amazing neighbor picked me up in his truck. I was HAPPY to be home!”

Chad McCown, a former Corporal in the Marines who now works with Exxon-Mobil and volunteers with Harden County Emergency District 5 as a firefighter and technical rescuer, took this shot of an older woman getting airlifted by the U.S. Coast Guard.

An Airman from the Texas National Guard’s 136th Airlift Wing assists Hurricane Harvey relief efforts in Galveston and Beaumont, Texas. (Photo by Master Sgt. Michael Miller, 136th Airlift Control Flight, via Flickr).

McCown uses his boat to transport a woman and her dog to a shelter.

Sister Margaret Ann, principal of Archbishop Coleman F. Carroll High School, grabbed a chainsaw and cleared a road of fallen limbs (courtesy Miami-Dade Police Department).

Dale Brock, a nurse practitioner at Trinity Valley Medical Clinic heads home after a free two-day clinic and helping cover the ER at the local hospital after one ER doctor had been on for 36 hours.

David Armerson uses his monster truck to transverse Highway 12 in Vidor, Texas, on his way to help people stranded in their homes. Armerson was a part of a makeshift group called Liberty County Search and Rescue that was formed by Jennifer Regen and Thomas Dunnagan. The group made more than 75 rescues, including the rescue of a one-week-old infant.

Mrs. Howell (foreground) is transported to safety by a crew from Florida’s Fish and Wildlife after falling on her steps trying to get out of her home. The water rose over night and her legs from the knee down had been submerged in water for over 12 hours. She was also immobile and required oxygen. Her husband (also in the boat but not pictured) fell and almost drowned. Both are on oxygen and in their mid to late 70s.

Maria Sanchez, PA (left), Melissa Wetterman MA, and Brandy Roberts FNP-BC opened a free clinic to an area cut off by flooding at Lighthouse Church in Moss Hill. Supplies were donated from Riceland Clinic Hull-Daisetta and AFC Urgent Care Baytown.

Ms. Jessica (in purple) was immobile, on oxygen, and didn’t want to leave her property. Her son was staying, and she thought she would be safe as well. As the water rose, she became scared that she would run out of gas, oxygen in or tank, or worse, wouldn’t be able to escape the rising water.

Adam Roberts stands outside with a family he treated in the clinic fellow nurse practitioners Brandy, Dale, Maria, and Mellisa also staffed.


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