Heroes in Houston

See how local heroes are saving lives — and how you can help.

Wilford Martinez, right, is rescued from his flooded car by Harris County Sheriff's Department Richard Wagner along Interstate 610 in floodwaters from Tropical Storm Harvey on Sunday, Aug. 27, 2017, in Houston, Texas.

By Liberty McArtor Published on August 28, 2017

Millions of Texans in the south-eastern region of the state have been and will continue to be affected by a powerful storm and devastating floods. Harvey, which hit land as a Category 4 hurricane and is now a tropical storm, has already dumped 12 trillion gallons of rain. Some places in Houston received two feet of rain in 24 hours, according to Weather.com. And more rain is coming.

When all is said and done, Houston and the surrounding area could see 50 inches of rain. On Monday morning, Texas Gov. Gregg Abbott mobilized the entire Texas National Guard to aid in the response.

Meanwhile in the Lone Star State, acts of heroism have become the norm. As Lt. Governor Dan Patrick tweeted Monday, Texans are responding “neighbor to neighbor, house to house, street to street.” Read on to see people working together to save lives. Scroll to the bottom to see how you can help. 

Help From a Helicopter

The quick and incessant rainfall over the weekend left many in southeast Texas stranded — on rooftops, second stories, and in deep water. The U.S. Coast Guard has been rescuing people with helicopters. Watch them in action in the videos below.

Heroes With Boats

Texans from elsewhere in the state are coming to help their neighbors on the coastline. Sen. Ted Cruz tweeted a photo of Texans “answering the call.”

On Saturday, ABC News tweeted out this video of an angel armada cruising past abandoned cars on a flooded street. 

“Cajun Navy” volunteers from Louisiana are also pouring in with their watercraft to help with evacuations.

This man with a boat told CNN he was “gonna go try to save some lives.”

ABC News reported that League City Police Department took to Facebook on Sunday morning asking for civilians with boats to help aid in evacuations. A few hours later, the department posted that it was “overwhelmed with the number of offers for help.” 

Law Enforcement Officers to the Rescue

Law enforcement officers with the Harris County Sheriff’s department rescued this man who had been trapped in 8 feet of water for hours.

A Harris County Sheriff’s Deputy rescued these two children in Cypress, Texas.

A photo of a heroic sheriff’s deputy, who reportedly rescued people through the night till he could no longer stand, is making the rounds on Twitter.

This AP photo of Houston Police SWAT officer Daryl Hudeck rescuing Catherine Pham and 13-month-old son Aiden to safety has gone viral. Ivanka Trump tweeted it out in a plea to honor “the brave heroes and first responders.” 

Reporter and Preacher Take Action into Their Own Hands

Brandi Smith of Houston’s KHOU was reporting on a bridge when the cameraman spotted a man stranded in his semi-truck on the street-turned-river below. Smith paused her reporting to flag a passing sheriff’s truck hauling a boat so they could rescue the driver.

Later Smith tweeted a message deferring credit for the rescue, praising the cameraman and the sheriff’s deputies.

This preacher was swimming through car-deep waters on Sunday, checking for people trapped in their cars.

How You Can Help

The above are just a few examples of the people across the Houston area, Texas and the United States coming together to help victims of Tropical Storm Harvey. Even if you’re not in the Houston area, there are important ways to help. 

Multiple non-profits are collecting funds specifically for the Harvey relief effort. Life Outreach International, the parent organization of The Stream, is raising money for Harvey victims here. Life Outreach International President and Stream Publisher James Robison, a Houston-area native, urged people to pray in this Facebook video.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott encouraged people to give to the American Red Cross.

The Southern Baptists’ North American Mission Board is also accepting donations to help Harvey victims.

Food is an important need for many people now displaced or homeless thanks to the storm. Click here and scroll down to see a list of local Houston-area food banks collecting donations. 

Airbnb is asking people who live in non-flooded areas of Texas to consider opening their homes to evacuees. They are waiving all fees for Harvey victims until September 1. 

Trusted World is operating evacuee shelters in Dallas and collecting needed items. Currently Trusted World is asking for socks and underwear, toiletries, non-perishable food and baby formula. If you live in north Texas click here to find the Dallas drop-off location and volunteer opportunities. Or, you can donate funds to Trusted World.

For those interested in helping displaced furry friends, visit SPCA of Texas. To see more animal and general relief organizations in Texas currently accepting donations, visit The Houston Chronicle and Texas Monthly.

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  • Hmmm…

    This is America … Ohhhh, her heart is still there ….

  • Ben Willard

    Kudo’s to America at her best! First responder’s whose own families and homes are in the line of destruction. Private citizens and organizations with nothing but faith and energy on their own. GOD BLESS.


    Weeping with joy over the display of unity- the laying down of life depicted in these stories! God bless each responder and those being rescued. Praying Psalm 91 as the Lord is placing His massive arms around Texas!

  • pete39

    Kudos to Brandi Smith of Houston’s KHOU for delaying her story to lend a hand.
    Much better than the Fox dummy in the Apache that picked up a woman and her child.
    There are times when snooze people are just in the way, especially when they consider their story more important than human life.

    And they all ask the same idiot questions: “How do you feel now that you’ve been rescued?” “Were you scared?” “Did you think you were going to die?”

    Here’s a question for you dummies: “How would YOU feel in the same situation?”
    I’m betting we’d all have the same feelings and fears … without having to be asked!

    • Chip Crawford

      No, ugly, we don’t all think like you do, fortunately … I saw the Fox News woman and child (the son, father and dog came after that) copter rescue, which was tastefully, tactfully and caringly done. The reporter is a veteran and far from trite. Foul ball.

      • pete39

        What’s with the name calling, Chip?
        My comment was general, yours is personal.

        In my years as a helicopter crew chief I was involved in pulling more than 1,500 people out of floods, etc. most in Nam. That’s not counting military medevacs.

        It got to the point I’d not take any more media people on rescue missions because they were always in the way. Trying to get people on board, moved out of the doorway so you can bring in the next person, shuffling them around so you can get to your equipment, medical supplies, or – as was the case in Nam, ammo.

        In my nearly 800 combat missions the only one of my crew wounded was while I was off my gun dealing with damn reporter!

        You may have guessed I’m not a fan of our media. After all that happened in Nam I came home to a TV war that had no resemblance to the one I’d just left.

        • Chip Crawford

          What is “dummies” in yours, with specific unfair derision? This is better. Thank you.

  • sc_cannon

    It is nice to feel that people are good in general and want to help other people. Sort of united we stand, divided we fall principle, at work here.

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