AUSTIN - On Sunday, Brent Webster discovered that Houston officials were asking civilians with high-water trucks or with boats to come help people evacuate from areas flooded by Hurricane Harvey.
Webster said he thought it was unusual for authorities to ask citizens "to get in harms way to help." Currently an Austinite but originally from Houston, Webster said he knew he would be able to navigate the city easily, "given all the flooding I experienced growing up."
"I just couldn't sit two hours away doing nothing, when I had the physical ability to help," Webster said. "But I didn't have a boat."
So he turned to social media, asking for someone with a lifted truck and a boat.
"The response was overwhelming," Webster said.
He said he was loaned a lifted truck while a friend and his father brought their flat bottom fishing boat to Austin. Webster's other friend was in Houston with a drone, scoping out where they were needed.
Once they got there, Webster and his friends got to work immediately.
Long into the night Tuesday, Webster said they had rescued about 30 people out of harms way.
"We assisted the Houston Fire Department in rescuing a 90 year old woman with cancer. She had remained in a home by herself, close to the bayou," Webster said. "The fire department did not have a boat, so they waded in the water to her house to get her out. Luckily, we also had decided to put our boat in the water in the same neighborhood. The Fire Department was relieved we were there and we gave her a ride to dry land where she was transported to safety."
On Thursday they worked in Beaumont, Orange and Vidor.
"Back in Beaumont we went to where a levy had broken, and made sure all of the families had been evacuated," he said. "The evacuation in this area was so urgent that people did not have time to get possessions or even animals out. We were able to save a puppy that had been fleeing from the waters."
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