We helped other towns too

By Michael Brooks Staff Writer

    “I don’t cry very often, but when I left Houston, I cried. Jackson County really dodged a bullet.”

    With nearby counties getting hit a lot worse than Jackson County by Hurricane Harvey, some local citizens stepped up to offer a hand. Some people assisted in cleaning up their neighborhood, and some went way above and beyond, like LaWard resident Robert Chaney. Many places in and around Houston were flooding and people were getting trapped. Chaney found out about it and went to help.

    “I heard about what was going on through Facebook,” Chaney said. “The Houston area needed boats, so I loaded up my boat and took off.  When I got there, they told me some people in a gated community needed help, so I went and got them and that is the kind of stuff we did all day long.”

    People from all over Texas and neighboring states helped aid in rescuing flood victims in the Houston area. Chaney pulled 17 people out of the rising water. Some people see him as a hero, but Chaney doesn’t agree.

    “I contributed to their well being by getting them out,” Chaney continued. “I don’t think I saved their lives.

    “I took some people away from rising water, but I also took some people back so they could check on their houses and collect some of their things. I did find seven people that were in a flat bottom. I tied on to them and pulled them and their dog out. There was also a family of four that flagged us down and got a ride.”

    Using boats in areas that are not designed to have boats presented its own unique challenge. Objects such as vehicles and fire hydrants just below the water surface presented obstacles for all the rescuers.

    “Propellers and mailboxes don’t mix,” Chaney said. “My propeller hit a mailbox at the home of a guy I had just picked up. His mail came floating to the surface. I apologized to the man but he said not to worry about it.”     According to the National Weather service, over 50” of rain fell in the Houston metropolitan area. “In Harris county, one trillion gallons of rain water fell from Saturday through Tuesday,” Jeff Linder, Meteorologist with the Harris County Flood Control district said. “That’s as much water as flows over Niagara Falls in 15 days.”

    “It was a humbling experience, that’s for sure,” Chaney continued. “There were million dollar homes covered in water. Until you’ve been there and processed what you saw, pictures and television can’t give you the whole story. It is heart-wrenching.”

    By comparison, Jackson County avoided flooding from hurricane Harvey. Most flooding that did occur in this area was caused from excess water coming from the San Antonio area and flooding the rivers that run through Jackson County. Jackson County received more than 15” of rainfall from Friday (when Harvey first made land fall) through Thursday.

Jackson County Herald Tribune

306 N. Wells
Edna, TX 77957