Huntsville man answers Harvey's call

Donnie McKendree launched his boat and rescued victims of Hurricane Harvey.

COLLEGE STATION, Texas - During times of disaster, it is often first responders and emergency rescuers that are looked to for help, but as often the case in times of devastation, regular citizens to step up and set out on their own rescue missions.

“I just couldn't sit there and watch and so I told my wife you know I got a boat, I have to go,” said citizen rescuer Donnie McKendree.

A little over an hour outside of Houston lives Donnie McKendree, a husband, a father and a business owner who says after seeing channel after channel report on Harvey, he just couldn’t handle it.

So, with his family support and the help of law enforcement, he left everything and hit the waters.

“I got nervous, I just wanted to make sure I was able to do it. So up until that first time we lost the boat, I was on pins and needles, then when we made it through that first trip I was like this is good,” said McKendree.

It wasn’t an easy voyage traveling into unknown territory and enduring some bumps and scratches along the way

“Working at night was probably ten times harder than working in the day time. you can’t see the dangers that are outside the line of site, and that made it pretty difficult,” said McKendree.

Despite being an uphill battle, even a few close calls weren't enough to keep him from his ultimate goal of reuniting these people with their families.

“Just seeing the look in their eyes and knowing that they were safe, made everything else worth it,” said McKendree.  

Although, Donnie may not carry a badge or wear a uniform, to the many he has helped during Tropical Storm Harvey he will always be looked to as a hero.

© 2017 KAGS-TV


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