The world watched as Hurricane Harvey unleashed hell upon the Gulf Coast of Texas. Footage of senior citizens wading in waist-deep water, men straining to free horses from their corrals, and SUVs bobbing in the streets like bathtub toys played on a loop on the news and across social media. The loss of life, property, and infrastructure rose like the floodwaters. It seemed as if the water would never recede. It would be weeks before recovery could even be uttered.
Despite the despair and destruction there was a silver lining. We heard of a Lowe Boats dealer who drove his entire fleet of aluminum boats to Houston to be used by emergency workers. There was another story about about a man named J.C. Urban, who rescued a family by PWC; and Jeremy Sparkman, a healthcare worker who led a volunteer flotilla to rescue flood victims. The news praised the efforts of The Cajun Navy.
“I usually just use this boat for drinking beer,” Sparkman told Reuters as he steered his flat-bottomed boat around submerged pickup trucks. “But we come together when we need to—that’s what Texans do.” I dare to correct Sparkman: That’s what boaters do. Then came Irma. The Category 5 hurricane leveled entire islands in the Caribbean and claimed more than lives. The storm could have been worse in Florida; the predicted storm surge did not reach the heights forecasters initially predicted, but the Keys were battered, beaten, and left without power for weeks.