By Brianna Bullion
On Monday, Aug. 28 a team of 12 boat owners from the Rio Grande Valley went to help fellow Texans affected by Hurricane Harvey, just three days after landfall as they saw the need for help and ran to the rescue.
Randy Bullion, a member of the ‘RGV Navy’ received a phone call as he was leaving church on Sunday, Aug. 27. A team of boaters was heading to Houston the next morning, and in response, Bullion gathered his things and left early Monday morning.
“These people needed our help, and I couldn’t stand back and just watch,” he said.
The team touched the lives of many families and were touched themselves by the generosity of those who had already lost everything.
Bullion rescued a family from their home who were flying a Texas flag and an American flag that remained untouched by the destructive winds. Bullion asked if he could fly the flags on his boat, and the family responded with “Yeah! Texas rules,” and added, “Don’t bring them back, you can keep them.” The Texas flag now flies at the Bullion household.
The ‘navy’ saved more than 1,000 people and a handful of pets from flooded homes. “The whole thing was awesome,” Bullion said.
While Harris County faced the brunt of Harvey, several smaller areas received damage and needed help as well. Among these areas was Brazoria County, which is a ‘sister’ county to Bell. Evacuees from Brazoria County were welcomed into Bell County by several churches. Emily Mahan, a student at UMHB offered her help by sorting donations that came through Vista Community Church on Tuesday, Aug. 29.
Mahan organized shoes, sorted clothes, and put together toiletry bags for the evacuees. She also donated items such as toys, diapers, and infant medication.
“I felt that I needed to help because these people had lost so much, and I knew I needed to help in whatever small way I could,” Mahan said. She was glad to have gotten the experience, though she was saddened by the number of evacuees. “One lady came in with a newborn baby who couldn’t have been more than a few weeks old,” Mahan said.