About 85 percent of the people we find are happy to see us: They’re ready to get out of there, and they’re full of gratitude. There are always a few people who don’t want to leave their homes, though. We tell them that we’re moving along, and if they call back later and say they’ve decided they do want to leave, they’re going to be at the bottom of the list. Sometimes that’ll convince them to go ahead and get in the boat.
I’ve been working in search and rescue for well over 20 years, and I’ve worked all the major storms in southern Louisiana’s recent history: Katrina, Rita. But before this is said and done, I think Harvey is going to be one of the worst. We were pulling up to homes and finding water all the way up to the second story. At one point, we passed by a hotel where people had been stranded on the second floor since Saturday; local officials didn’t know they were there. We brought them all to safety.