Thousands from across the nation rushed to rescue people trapped by Hurricane Harvey’s unprecedented floodwaters in the Houston area.
Countless East Texans also dropped everything and headed to the submerged city, including Glennard Tilley from Nacogdoches.
Tilley does not have a boat, but when he heard so many needed help, he borrowed one.
He and his friend Mitch Bell asked off work and drove to Kingwood where they were joined by friends. Through the Zello app, they connected with a group of 50 Houston police officers and together spent Tuesday, Aug. 29 rescuing people from homes, apartment complexes, stores, nursing homes and more. While they were able to save over 150 hurricane victims, he said many nursing home residents were already dead.
“They had been abandoned there for several days without food or water or electricity,” he said in an exclusive FaceTime interview with CBS 19. “It made me wonder where their caregivers were, where their families were. I saw things that day I never want to see again.”
He described the experience as heartbreaking and surreal.
“Some of the elderly people were crying because they didn’t know if they were going to live, they didn’t know if someone was going to come in time,” he said. “No one was able to make a phone call out.”
Bell said they went to help because that is what he would want someone to do for him.
“If I were in that situation, or if my loved ones were, I would want someone to stop and help them,” he said. “This is how we take care of each other, there’s no other option.”
Right now, they are on the way to Beaumont where floods have claimed two lives so far.
The men said they have also been using the website houstonharveyrescue.com to find those who needed help and to connect with other search teams. They asked those who need help to utilize the site, as well as those who are looking to help.