ALLSTATE: High Ground


– Friday night was August 25th, and that was me and my
twin brother’s birthday, literally the day of our birthday. There was a group of us,
probably 20, 25 of us. And we were just goofing off
and just having a good time. At about nine or 10:00 at night, it came down pretty hard. (thunder rumbling) We get a lot of hurricanes,
we were all skeptical. We kind of assumed it’s not
gonna be that big of a deal. Had no expectation what
really was about to happen. – [Radio] Hurricane Harvey barreling into the Texas coastline
as a category four storm with 130 mile an hour winds. It’s the first category
four storm to hit the U.S. in over a decade, threatening
record rain totals of up to 35 inches
throughout much of Texas that could render some areas
uninhabitable for months, president declaring a federal
disaster of the state. – My name’s Brent Walters,
I live in Sour Lake, Texas. It’s about 90 miles southeast of Houston. The community is about
1,400, 1,500 people. In general very flat land, marsh land. Saturday morning it’s raining and raining. Watched the news and they started
talking about it flooding. – [Radio] Flash flood warnings or watches. – We were putting stakes out in the yard, and I would go an monitor
it and just surpass it, surpass it, and once it
got to about right here and it started creeping over,
that’s when I got nervous. – I’m coming into my neighborhood and the water is now over the road. I get on the phone with
a friend, I’m like, “Brent, what are we gonna do?” – We woke up Sunday
morning and Highway 105 was underwater, and we’re thinking, “They’re talking about three,
four more days of rain, “50 something plus more inches.” At that point we’re like, “Okay,
this is gonna be a issue.” – It was too deep for us
to get through on trucks. Brent and I looked at each, we’re like, “Hey, we got some tractors.” – So we get in the
tractors, and then I notice there’s a woman, a daughter and a dog that is standing in the road. And I drive a little bit
further, there’s another couple. They’re like, “Can you
bring us to dry land?” – We were still waiting
on the National Guard, government help. We realized that we were the only ones who had the capability of getting in there and saving people,
literally saving people. – We’d put them in the
buckets, we’d put them on the trailers and we’d
put them in our cabs with us and truck them to high land. – I’d say 150, 200 people minimum. Plus, people wanna take
their pets with them. – There was a dog standing
on top of this red truck, not the hood, the top of the truck. So we pull up and there’s
people sitting in water in the truck, it happened to be my old kindergarten teacher, Miss King. If we would have found the truck after, you know what I mean? So it was kind of, kind of
hits your a little different. – The mental toll was insane. You’re soaking wet, you’re hungry, but you’re so tired you don’t eat, and then you know you still have people who need help out there, so
it just weighs on your mind. – Started getting so deep
you could see the water’s higher than it was 20 minutes ago. – I’ll be honest with you, I was afraid that all it had to do was just
get underneath the tractor one time and flip over. – The tractor started to flood out. It was a little bit freaky. And the water’s still going up. I mean, it is still going up. – A lot of memories
right here on this table, but I’ve got about five albums that all got wet like this. I don’t know if I’ll ever
be able to bring them in the house because of the smell. We’ve lived here for 53
years, the same house. I have a son in Louisiana and a daughter that was killed on a
motorcycle four years ago. We kept staying and staying, you know, and looking, and that water
was getting higher and higher. But in my mind, it was just
gonna do down that night. – That Sunday night I
didn’t get much sleep. Every hurricane I’ve ever been in, and I’ve been in a bunch
of them, it seems like at night when everybody’s sleeping, that’s whenever everything happens. (crashing thunder) Monday morning, I didn’t
know what to expect. When you woke up to it and you see it, you’re like, “Oh my gosh.” It looked like an ocean. If the water’s all the way up to here, which it’s never been, I’ve
never seen it like that, then everything was flooded. So we can’t use tractors. It’s a big boat. The problem is it’s a 24 foot boat with about a four and a half foot hold. As you can see, it’s not really set up for highway driving. We get up on the highway,
and you’re just in awe. You’re just like, “I am driving
down the highway in a boat.” And all you can see is
water, for 20 miles. That’s when we realized, we need to check on Mr. Arnold and Miss Arnold. – We heard a banging on the
door and I started walking down the hall and the water
was up my legs in my hall. I had on my pajamas, and we
didn’t have anything prepared, we didn’t have our medicine,
no clothes, no nothing. – I mean, you kind of see people in a vulnerable state at that point. We have the resources,
we’re blessed enough to be able to do stuff like that, but it’s a little scary
too ’cause you’re like people would have been drowned
if we didn’t jump to it. – After the storm hits and
you have water feet and feet into your home, you’re
now in salvage mode. You are trying to salvage every piece of childhood memorabilia that you had. Things that you worked
so hard for, your dreams. – Just walking into house
after house after house of everything that you own soaking wet and just thrown everywhere on the floor, it’s hard to put into words
how devastating that is. – Just the fact, I remember the sign, and what killed me, a lot of the stuff that my daughter had given
me, I lost all of it. It was that one Aladdin lamp. – After the water went down, people were tearing out
each other’s houses. – We gutted 28 or 30 homes. And that’s taking everything out, walls, insulation, everything,
putting it out on the roads. – As soon as the water
receded, Brent and I immediately brought in as
much supplies as we could, and we took all of our trailers, tractors, set them out there,
and we’re giving waters to those that were in need. – To see how everybody kind of pitched in, even people whose houses were flooded, just local people saying, “Okay, “how do we rescue this neighborhood?” – For someone that’s never been
through a hurricane before, that’s never been through
the evacuation process or the unloading of damaged
property to try to salvage whatever you can, it’s
frightening, it’s hard. You’re learning for the first time what ripping everything
from you in a heartbeat is. But we pulled together as a community and kind of let everyone
lean on each other. – They’re strong, they’re
a strong community. And they have just revived themselves, they literally have, and
I’m proud to say that.

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