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Thursday, December 5, 2019

City

Alumnus rescues stranded students during Imelda


Courtesy of Caleb Holl

Tropical Storm Imelda killed five and flooded homes and streets after dropping 40 inches of rain on southeast Texas.

Impassable streets and stormy weather did not stop people from trying to get home on the Thursday when waters were highest. When people were inevitably stuck, others stepped up to help. With lifted trucks and an urge to help, an alumnus was one of the many who put his life on the line to help others.

“If anyone needs help in this flood in the Houston area no matter how far, I got you, I have a truck. Dm me,” Caleb Holl tweeted.

Holl sent the tweet four minutes before UH decided to cancel classes at 12:20 p.m. that day. After noticing an abundance of tweets from students complaining about being stranded on campus due to the midday closure and extreme flooding, Holl decided to do what he could to help.

“During Harvey I was helping out at the George R. Brown Convention Center helping feeding homeless and families that were badly affected by Harvey,” Holl said. “We also went out on boats to help people who stranded.” 

The rescue mission started when Holl received a phone call from a friend asking for help on his loved one’s behalf.

After one of my friends had called to ask me to pick up his sister, I thought it would be a good idea to continue to help people,” he said.  

Holl helped about four students on campus and a friend named Cynthia Moka, a biology senior.

“The delay in canceling school put a lot of my classmates and I at risk because majority of us are commuters and everywhere was getting pretty flooded,” Moka said.

She said she decided to call Holl for help when she ended up stranded by flood waters.

“He’s very reliable and has helped me a couple of times in the past, so I knew he was the best person to call,” Moka said. “Without hesitation he rushed to pick me up, and I was so relieved.

While risking his life was not fun, Holl said, his favorite part was seeing how grateful people were for his help and some even tried to offer him money for the help.

“Some people had cried in my car because they were super thankful that I was able to come help,” Holl said. 

Rescuing a mix of students and strangers, the longest distance Holl drove was from Humble to Rosenberg.

“It took almost two and half hours to get there,” Holl said, “because a lot of the roads and highways were closed because there were dips filled with water.”

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