UA Grads, Armed With a Boat, Save Lives in Houston


(via KARK) — Harvey has again unleashed its fury on Texas. The tropical storm made a third landfall, bringing with it more water.

At least 24 deaths related to Hurricane Harvey and its aftermath have been reported in Texas.

Tens of thousands have already evacuated, and now thousands more are being forced to higher ground.

Harvey has now broken the U.S. record for rainfall from a single storm, dumping almost 52 inches of rain in parts of Texas.

We spoke with two University of Arkansas graduates who are helping rescue those trapped by the flood.

A street — still lined with flooded cars — now requires a boat to navigate.

It’s turned into a channel where citizen rescue crews are saving families from rising waters.

“We just decided it was safer for everybody to leave today,” Beth O’Neal said.

“Everything is kind of moving east so we can try to get over there,” Mick Okrzesik said.

Mick Okrzesik and Blake Hanson’s goal is simply helping people.

“We took one guy over to get, he lost his whole house, he likely has a sailboat that survived the storm,” Mick said.

Both are University of Arkansas alumni, now living in Houston. The former Hogs are now heroes to the evacuees they bring to shore.

“We’re going to go try to pick up people who are stranded on these islands because the water rose on two sides,” Mick said.

“So appreciative… just so appreciative…” Carolyn Straatmann said.

When the water started rising around them and they knew families were stuck, they pulled out a boat and got to work. But they don’t want to take all the credit.

“There’s a lot of support from everyone around town, other counties, other cities, other states,” Mick said.

But like so many others, their loved ones have fallen victim to Harvey too.

“Pretty much all our family and family friends got evacuated yesterday by helicopter or by boat yesterday,” Mick said.

With their boat, these former Razorbacks are lending a helping hand to those who desperately need it in Houston.

“This is our Texas armada, it really is,” Carolyn said.

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