Help Thy Neighbor: Inspirational Rescues from Hurricane Harvey

On August 25, 2017 Hurricane Harvey began battering coastal Texas. Over the next few days, this massive weather event dumped over 50 inches of rain in Houston and its surrounding areas.

This major U.S. city averages around 50 inches of rain per year — accumulating a year’s amount of rain in less than a week caused catastrophic flooding to the area.

During this dangerous and heartbreaking period, numerous reports of people selflessly helping neighbors in their time of need surfaced. The following inspirational acts are wonderful illustrations of Galatians 6:2, which says, “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”

A Labor of Love

As the floodwaters from Hurricane Harvey began to rise, Annie Smith went into labor. This brave expectant mom and her husband both called 911, and the Texas National Guard’s emergency number for several hours. When no answer came, the couple, both doctors, believed they would have to deliver the baby at their home.
Ms. Smith contacted the director of her fellowship program. This individual’s father resided near a fire department. Thankfully, he was able to alert a rescue crew about Ms. Smith’s predicament. When a truck arrived at their home, the floodwaters were too high for Ms. Smith to safely get into it. Coming to her rescue, neighbors and firefighters formed a human chain.

“I just kind of held onto them, one person at a time and crawled along their arms until the fireman helped me up the ladder onto the truck,” Smith recounted.

A Mother’s Last Act of Courage

In Beaumont, Texas, a rescue team aboard a Zodiac boat looking for people in distress spotted a small pink backpack floating in the floodwaters. Once they arrived on the scene, the rescue team pulled a shivering three-year-old girl, Jordyn Grace, and her deceased mother, Colette Sulcer, from the murky waters. Trying to escape the devastation in her vehicle, Ms. Sulcer drove into a parking lot when the floodwaters began to rise.
After leaving the car holding onto her daughter, Ms. Sulcer and her little girl were swept into a canal. They ended up floating about half or a mile. Sadly, at this point, Ms. Sulcer met her demise. Miraculously, even as she succumbed to the floodwaters, this devoted mom never let go of her daughter.

According to police, Ms. Sulcer’s actions likely helped to keep her daughter alive. After being rescued, little Jordyn told relative Antionette Logan, “Mama was saying her prayers.”

Rest for the Weary

During Hurricane Harvey’s devastation, Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale lovingly portrayed Romans 12:13, which states, “Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.”

He opened his furniture stores to evacuees and flood victims. On Tuesday August 29, Mr. McIngvale reported one of his stores was housing 360 people while the other retail outlet was supporting 400 flood survivors.

In an interview with CNN, this Good Samaritan shared a touching recount of a seven-year-old boy who arrived at one of his stores during the middle of the night with his parents. Because his parents couldn’t speak English, the little boy bravely asked, while crying, if he and his family could stay at the store.

This wasn’t the business owner’s first act of charity in this type of situation. In 2005, Mr. McIngvale provided shelter to those fleeing from Hurricane Katrina.

Bread for the Hungry

As floodwaters rose all around the El Bolillo Bakery in Houston, head baker Jorge Abundiz realized he and his three employees wouldn’t be able to go home.

Knowing his family was safe and the bakery wasn’t flooded, Mr. Abundiz decided to bake as many sheets of pan dulce, Mexican sweet bread, as they could in order to help feed Hurricane Harvey survivors. In two days, Mr. Abundiz and his crew utilized more than 4,000 pounds of flour to bake over 3,000 pieces of bread. The bread was delivered to various shelters in the area.

A Cincinnati man learned of the bakers’ story. Moved by their selfless gesture, he offered to donate funds to help cover the bakery’s and its employees’ costs.

Proverbs 22:9 states, “The generous will themselves be blessed, for they share their food with the poor.”

Some of Hurricane Harvey’s survivors will spend the next several years trying to rebuild their lives. However, they likely will never forget the selfless acts of those who came to their rescue during their time of greatest need.

~ 1776 Christian

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