Leaven Blog

Heroic tales from Hurricane Harvey

An elderly woman in a wheelchair is rescued by volunteers from the floodwaters of Tropical Storm Harvey Aug. 28 in Houston. (CNS photo/Jonathan Bachman, Reuters)

by Moira Cullings

Hundreds of thousands of lives were completely turned upside down following the destruction of Hurricane Harvey Aug. 25.

News sites are now reporting an estimated 27 trillion gallons of rain were dumped on Texas and Louisiana over six days, and expect hundreds of billions of dollars in damages.

The recovery seems almost insurmountable.

But time and time again, regular Americans have shown their courage and valor in desperate times of need.

Their small actions of love ease the suffering during disasters like Harvey.

Here are five tales that might boost your confidence in mankind.

1) Human chain

Dozens of drivers exited their cars when they saw another car being swept away by the flood. The Good Samaritans formed a human chain to rescue an elderly man trapped in his car, which was slowly becoming submerged in the rising water.

The man was taken safely to the hospital thanks to the generosity of complete strangers.

2) Chick-Fil-A to the rescue

JC Spencer, an elderly Texas man, called Chick-Fil-A, where he ate regularly, after realizing he and his wife needed to evacuate their home but couldn’t find help anywhere else. Although the store was closed, Jeffrey Urban, the store’s manager, answered the call after recognizing the man as a regular customer.

The caller ordered two grilled chicken burritos — and a boat. The manager immediately sought help for Spencer and his wife and found another store manager, Cindy Smith, who along with her husband and neighbors sent a boat and jet ski to rescue the elderly couple from their home.

3) From business to shelter

A Houston businessman opened his furniture store following the hurricane — not for business but to offer shelter and food to people in need. Many people didn’t know where their next meal would come or where they would rest their heads at night.

His kindness not only provided much-needed shelter, but lifted their spirits as well.

4) No time wasted

Employees at El Bolillo, a Houston bakery, worked overtime Aug. 26, making sure everyone who needed bread would have some. Four bakers ended up trapped inside the store that night.

The owner attempted to rescue the workers Aug. 27 but was turned away by police. On Monday, he was finally able to reach the bakery. He was stunned by what he found — his employees had spent their time trapped baking and had completely restocked the shelves. They were ready to deliver their baked goods to those in need.

5) An unexpected superhero

Around 9,000 Houston residents sought shelter at George R. Brown Emergency Center following Harvey. But the children there Aug. 29 were in for a big surprise — a visit from Spiderman.

An unknown man dressed as the superhero visited the kids, handing out stickers and toys throughout the center. The man brightened up the days of countless kids and their families.

About the author

Moira Cullings

Moira attended St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Overland Park and Benedictine College in Atchison. She majored in marketing, minored in psychology and played center midfield for the women’s soccer team. Moira joined The Leaven staff as a feature writer and social media editor in 2015. After a move to Denver, Moira resumed her full-time position at The Leaven and continues to write and manage its website, social media channels. Her favorite assignment was traveling to the Holy Land to take photos for a group pilgrimage in 2019.

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