By Brandon Butler, Director/Chief Instructor, TRS
In late September TRS was tasked with deploying to Hurricane Harvey as part of Razorback Task Force One from Arkansas. Among us were boat crews and swiftwater techs from all over the state of Arkansas. The deployment took time to authorize and teams were ready to go for several days. Once the word was sent, TRS sent 4 personnel, three boats and swiftwater equipment to help. All Razorback Task Force Teams met in Texarkana, Arkansas and deployed down I30 into Texas. We were in route to Houston when we were stopped in Jasper, Texas for the night until a new deployment location was established. Houston had plenty of help and now Beaumont and Port Arthur, Texas were all experiencing heavy flooding.
The next morning we were re-assigned and deployed toward Beaumont, Texas. Our team took many routes in an attempt to reach Beaumont, only to be stopped by closed roads and flooding. Our Team eventually ended up in Vidor, Texas, where we were quickly dispatched to various calls, pending for hours to check on people and homes. Fortunately the locals took great pride in helping each other and most of the calls were cleared up prior to us even arriving. We returned to our staging area in a large strip mall parking lot, and waited for our next mission. Later that day, due to the overwhelming response from all over the country, our team was released to return home. There was a lot learned in this entire process, even though we were unable to perform the rescues we wanted to be a part of. A big thanks to all the volunteers and teams who deployed with us. We look forward to working with them again in the future.