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Saturday, September 23, 2017

City

Group of students helps rescue senior citizens


rescue

“Basically, we jumped in and did whatever we could,” said Kendal Hadley, a kinesiology junior. “Everybody on the first floor either got evacuated to the second or higher floor, and whoever was willing to leave, we brought out to the Campus Vue parking garage and housed them until we could get them help.” | Courtesy of Sunny Gotewal

While Hurricane Harvey drenched the city with rain, a group of four University of Houston students teamed up with several Third Ward residents to help rescue tenants from a flooded apartment housing elderly people near campus on Sunday before the National Guard could arrive at the location.

The group began its efforts late Sunday morning when they saw someone asking for help on the second floor of the Beall Village apartments, a housing complex for seniors on North MacGregor Way.

“Basically, we jumped in and did whatever we could,” said Kendal Hadley, a kinesiology junior. “Everybody on the first floor either got evacuated to the second or higher floor, and whoever was willing to leave, we brought out to the Campus Vue parking garage and housed them until we could get them help.”

Floodwater was knee-high on the first floor when they began the rescue efforts around 10 a.m., Hadley said, but they moved six people to the Campus Vue parking garage and at least 10 to a higher floor in the apartment complex.

They continued the rescue effort until 3 or 4 p.m., Hadley said.

Sunny Gotewal, a biomedical sciences sophomore at the Honors College, said some of the rescued elderly people were disabled.

“There was floodwater everywhere, and they couldn’t move because of the flood,” he said. “They were on the bottom floor.”

With permission, Gotewal said, the students picked up people with disabilities and took them to the second floor of the building.

“They got abandoned by the people who own that place,” Hadley said. “Their caretakers just dipped out. They left them to just ride this out on their own.”

The group — Hadley, Gotewal, Hunter Legrange and eventually Student Government Association President Winni Zhang — called 911 and the National Guard throughout the rescue and were eventually aided by the latter.

“There were immobile people that we couldn’t get out of the nursing home,” Gotewal said. “We needed specialized forces who are professionals … because we couldn’t lift people in motorized wheelchairs through the floods.”

Eventually, the National Guard arrived with helicopters and evacuated the people who needed to leave, Gotewal said.

There might be 20 people still at Beall Village, Hadley said, because they chose not to leave the complex.

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  • Jessica

    There were more than “four University of Houston students” helping out. I watched Robert Aguilera and Christian Browder help pull these people to safety, both of which are neither pictured, nor mentioned. In fact, I have video proof of it. As well as this, many students stayed well after the residents were taken to safety, to create makeshift sand bags out of rocks to help protect the homes of these victims from further water damage.

  • Kendal Hadley

    There was way more than just 4 students who helped. Through out the day multiple people jumped in to help even once it got dark people stuck around. We all continued to lend a hand in any way possible well after the helicopter evacuation. Everyone who wasn’t named and who wasn’t a part of this picture I just have to say thank you for everything you all did. This was a community effort from each and every one of us. -Kendal Hadley

  • Vicki E

    One correction, there are 40 people.
    A few of us from University Oaks neighborhood, adjacent to Campus Vue, are coordinating meals donations. If anyone has a source for meals, please contact Vicki E at 281-857-0073 so we don’t have meals overlapping and wasted food. Thanks so much!!

  • Christine Jackson-Mecutchen

    Someone needs to start a go fund me page for tuition reimbursement for these wonderful young people! There selflessness and willingness to do what needed to be done should be rewarded. We can only pray this is just a sample of what Generation Z has to offer! Thank you to all 40 of you!

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