EDITORIAL: The heroes of Harvey
There are so many photos. Houston's highways that have become rivers, skyscrapers now islands in lakes, water reaching up to street signs and the roofs of houses.
And the people, sitting on those roofs, wading through water up to their shoulders, carrying children and pets to higher ground, trying to find any spot that's dry.
Many people see those photos and say, "What can I do?" And then there are those who don't ask, and just do.
Houston has become America's Dunkirk. Between May 26 and June 4, 1940, almost 350,000 members of the British Expeditionary Force who had been trapped in Dunkirk, France, were evacuated by the British Navy and more than 800 personal boats that sailed across the English Channel while under fire from the German Luftwaffe.
Hurricane Harvey has provided its own air force, with rain continuing to pour on East Texas and Louisiana. And mericans have responded, first with canoes, kayaks and fishing boats that were already in the area, and then with more boats coming in from the "Cajun Navy" and others drawn to help fellow beings in dire straits.
Official rescuers said Tuesday they had picked up 13,000 people who were stranded in the rising floods. The number picked up by unofficial rescuers will probably never be known, but the photos and videos will live on social media.
And those videos are stunning. Boats pick up people who have lost everything but the treasures they have stuffed into garbage bags and are holding over their heads. Babies sleep as they and their mothers are carried to higher ground. People form long chains, linking arms with each other, and go into rushing waters to rescue pets caught in the current.
Many of the heroes aren't in Houston. They're as far away as York, helping direct rescuers on social media, finding any ways they can help.
John Bailey, owner of Bailey Coach Trailways in York, got a call Sunday night from FEMA saying they needed buses in Texas. Bailey arranged for himself and two more drivers to take the coaches to the region ravaged by Hurricane Harvey on Monday.
But why send empty buses when there is such a need? Bailey sent out word at 9 a.m. Monday that the buses needed to be filled with bottled water, canned foods and other supplies. And by 2 p.m., the buses pulled out loaded with 60,000 pounds of donated goods.
At The Conewago Inn, a fundraiser this weekend will raise money for rescue efforts by the American Red Cross.
More fundraisers will come, there will be more opportunities to send supplies from York to the flood-ravaged Gulf Coast.
It will be weeks before the extent of the damage is known, years before Texas recovers. People will continue to need shelter, food and clothing, and medical problems will arise from exposure to flood waters and all the pests, diseases and chemicals associated with them.
But today belongs to the heroes of Harvey, those who gave their time and equipment and risked their own lives to save fellow beings in grave distress. Those who have stepped up deserve the lasting thanks of the country.