Hurricane Harvey ravaged southeast Texas with relentless rain for several days in August. The historic storm dumped just more than a record 50 inches of water on parts of Houston, bringing what experts have called a “500-year” rain to the city and causing massive flooding. While many were desperate to leave Houston amidst the crisis, one HCA-affiliate nurse rushed to the area to help.
Taylor Moore, a surgical intensive care unit (ICU) nurse at Rapides Regional Medical Center in Alexandria, Louisiana, made three back-and-forth trips to the Houston-area to help rescue those stranded in their homes.
Ahead of Harvey’s landfall, Moore says he was following the storm closely when he received a group text requesting nurse volunteers for HCA-affiliate facilities in the hurricane’s path.
“Because of my work schedule, I wasn’t going to be selected to participate in relief efforts for nurses during that time,” Moore said.
Once the hurricane hit and the devastation was clear, Moore didn’t hesitate to take matters into his own hands.
“We made the decision to go over there and help in the way we knew how,” Moore says about joining the ‘Cajun Navy’ – a group of Louisianans with boats that came together after Hurricane Katrina to help each other. “I’ve been in boats all of my life. I knew if I couldn’t make a difference as a nurse, everything I had been taught from a young child in the outdoors, would play a crucial role in how I handled the situation in Houston.”
“It was somewhat scary because we were going into a situation where we didn’t know what we were going to encounter,” he added, “but the Lord prepared the way for us to go.”
Moore said he received nothing but support from his nursing unit at Rapides Regional. “The first time my boss found out I was going, I texted him a picture of my boat from the rearview mirror of my truck. I said, ‘I’m heading to Texas.’ And he said, ‘What?’ I was like, ‘Yeah, man. I’m going to save people.’”
And that he did.
Moore’s first rescue trip included a four-hour trek to Pasadena, Texas, just outside of Houston. He and other Cajun Navy rescuers used the Zello app on their cell phones to locate people who needed help.
“People who needed rescue would call in and give their addresses, saying things like: ‘I have my dad here who’s on dialysis. He hasn’t had dialysis in a week. Or, ‘We have kids who are ill,’” Moore recalled. “We even received a message through Zello from a man whose motor broke down off of the Beltway 8 that runs around Houston. He gave an address and said: ‘If you can get to this location, you’ll never run out of people to rescue.’”
And when they reached the flooded subdivision, there were “people everywhere,” says Moore. He and fellow Good Samaritans worked their way from house to house through the night, loading up as many people (and pets) as they could.
Moore would eventually travel back to Louisiana the next morning, where he continued listening to Zello. Almost immediately, he was ready to travel back to Houston. “I just started texting and texting and texting people,” he said. “I finally got ahold of one of my friends and said, ‘Let’s go back.’”
The second and third trips to the Houston-area were focused around Conroe, Orange, and Vidor, Texas. Moore estimates that they rescued around 600 people during the ordeal.
“It was neat to be a part of something so big and to be able to impact individual lives. I can still see a lot of their faces whenever I think about it,” Moore said, reflecting.
“This hit very close to home in that our state (Louisiana) had experienced something similar,” he added. “If it were to happen again here, I would hope that the people of Texas – or any place nearby – would come to help us. So, that’s the mindset that I had going over there – do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
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(HCA internal audience can view the video here.)