Outdoors community steps up to help in Harvey aftermath
Thursday, August 31, 2017
Our thoughts and prayers go out to everyone who suffered a loss of any kind due to Hurricane Harvey. However, the dedication, generosity and bravery of everyone helping their neighbors in their time of need are some of the few bright spots during Texas' darkest hours.
While there are thousands of government rescuers doing fantastic work, countless more outdoorsmen and women have selflessly pitched in as well, putting the large hunting and fishing culture of the region on full display to the world.
This is not to diminish the work that the police, firefighters, Coast Guard, game wardens, constables, soldiers and airmen of the National Guard, and all other government workers are doing. They're performing admirably under demanding circumstances, but they are also facing the monumental task of rescuing thousands of people spread out across the Houston metropolitan area.
There is a saying that "many hands make light work," and the thousands of private citizens who have shown up on their own accord to help their neighbors have made the tremendous task much more manageable. Indeed, people got to work while the rain was still falling in many cases. You don't need to watch too many news reports to see that that outdoorsmen and women made up a large portion of the volunteers.
This is not surprising to anyone from the Gulf Coast. Not only are there tens of thousands of anglers and hunters in the area, but the gear and knowledge necessary to catch redfish in the Gulf of Mexico, fish for bass in the muddy swamps and bayous of Texas and Louisiana, or hunt Pintail and Teal on the coastal plains are ideally suited for rescuing people from a flooded city.
The flat-bottomed aluminum boats that are so popular among anglers and duck hunters in the area can't hold many people at once, but they can access areas that deeper draft boats can't. For a person used to navigating flooded timber or cypress swamps, avoiding mailboxes and street signs in a flooded neighborhood is a simple task.
The vast majority of these volunteers hail from Texas and Louisiana, including many from the Bayou State's famous "Cajun Navy." However, hunters and anglers from as far away as Georgia have streamed into the area to offer their services as well.
We'll likely never know for sure how many people civilian volunteers rescued in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, but it's likely that they plucked thousands of stranded people from the muddy water.
While the work is far from over, the people of Texas will never forget how their fellow citizens came forward to help when they needed it the most. Fortunately, the outdoor culture in the region meant that there were thousands of people who were well equipped for the task at hand.
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