Story by Spc. Dwayne Holt, Texas State Guard
League City, Texas - When Hurricane Harvey hit the Texas coast and dumped historic amounts of rain, the Texas State Guard members responded to assist Texans who needed help. Those members, who lived in the hurricane strike zone and could not deploy, became civilian rescuers of neighbors and friends in the flooded areas around Houston.
Texas State Guard Spc. Dwayne Holt, 8th Regiment, was one of those courageous rescuers.
On the morning of August 27, 2017, Holt received a phone call from fellow Texas State Guard member, Sgt. 1st Class Cheryl Lemmings, Texas Medical Brigade, who was desperately trying to find a way to rescue her mother, Nina, from her flooded home. Owning a big pickup truck, Holt responded that he would try to get as close to the neighborhood as he could. The flood waters were deep and even his big truck was no match.
“I had to wade through flood waters for about four blocks to meet Lemming’s brother-in-law, Joe Green. Then wading in chest high water, we finally reached Lemming’s mother,” stated Holt.
A neighbor gave them a canoe to assist in the rescue. Holt and Green packed up medicines and clothes and loaded Lemming’s mother and her dogs into the canoe. Back at his truck, Holt drove Nina to a family member’s home.
“My training in the Texas State Guard was very important in my assisting with rescues. I had learned to think quickly and figure out the best solution to get these rescues done successfully with the assets available and save lives,” commented Holt.
Holt returned to the same neighborhood to continue to assist Green and a high-water rescue EMT team with evacuating residents. “In one rescue after another we pushed boats through the flood waters, taking at least fifteen families, their pets, and a few possessions to high ground.” In his truck, Holt drove family after family to a local HEB store, which had become a staging area for the evacuation to a shelter. At the end of the rescue efforts, Holt made sure that Green and his son got home safely.
“Texans are amazing. Families reached out to help other families in need. I was very proud of how people came together, unselfishly, to assist neighbors and strangers. The Texas State Guard is like that, too. Texans serving Texans,” remarked Holt.