First responders continue tireless work to help people affected by Hurricane Harvey, including teams from East Texas.
CBS 19 has been following ETMC EMS strike team leader Roy Langford since he was deployed days before the storm hit.
Langford was rotated back to Tyler last Wednesday and said they were able to save dozens of lives despite being stranded for days by floodwaters that rose and fell without warning.
He said roads his team had crossed just minutes before became impassable in the rainfall.
“DPS would map our location and we also used Google Maps, but the waters were rising so fast, Google Maps couldn’t keep up,” he said shaking his head. “It was challenging.”
Missions took them from Victoria, to Lake Jackson, Humble, Katy and more.
“The pictures say a little bit, but unless you’re there you cannot understand the magnitude of the disaster,” Langford said. “We were looking down 30 feet down at I-10 but the water was 2 or 3 feet away from us. It was bad.”
They waited out flooding and pressed on to each staging location. They slept where they could and focused on medical and nursing home evacuations.
“One nursing home was flooded and we couldn’t get to it, so people in boats brought the survivors to us,” he said. “We stood knee deep in water getting people off the boats and putting people on ambulances. Rain was just pouring. It was hard.”
Still, he said being a part of medical network thousands strong with one goal in mind was rewarding.
“The staging areas were great and well managed,” he said smiling. “It was great watching everybody do their jobs and move these people out, and the people were so grateful. It was neat to hug up on some of these elderly people."
He said one moment in particular warmed his heart.
"This child had a bunch of dolls and she dropped one,” he said. “I picked it up and I was cradling it like a doll, I have two girls, so I said ‘Here's your baby,’ and she said, ‘You can keep it if you want,’ and I said ‘No baby she needs to stay with her mama,’ so that was the highlight of my day."
It is clear that serving those in need is more than a job for Langford and his team. It is a calling.
Beth Powell, Emergency Task Force Management Coordinator for Region 4, said an ETMC doctor and several nurses were sent to staff a medical mobile unit in Orange, Texas.
Yesterday, she said they saw well over 100 patients.
Right now, 2 ETMC ambulances, a leader and a medical support team member are in the field.