Sea Tow Operators are no stranger to a devastating hurricane so they knew exactly what their neighbors at Sea Tow Galveston, Sea Tow Corpus Christi, and all of Texas, were up against following Hurricane Harvey.
After the winds died down, Sea Tow Services International dispatched it operators as part of Sea Tow’s Hurricane Harvey CAT Team. Capt. John Ward with Sea Tow Destin & Pensacola, Captain Christian Orfanello and Captain Lucas Caldwell of Sea Tow New Orleans teamed up with Captain Chris Ward & Seth Ward of Sea Tow South Mississippi. The teams immediately jumped to action to help their Lone Star State neighbors. Joining forces with Captain Billy Kern with Sea Tow Galveston, Captain Mike Kern with Sea Tow Central Texas and Captain Brandon Upton of Sea Tow Corpus Christi, they took to the waters in their distinctive yellow boats to start recovering vessels in the Rockport and Port Aransas area.
“We knew we had a lot of work ahead of us,” Captain Christian said. “But when we saw the faces of a couple whose home was completely submerged up to the third floor, we knew we had to stop and help.”
The team of four captains stopped what they were doing and headed over to the home. Climbing through the third story balcony, they retrieved the only salvageable items from the bedroom and ferried the items to a dry-ground area.
“They kept offering us money, but the look of appreciation on their faces was more than enough,” Captain Billy shared. “There is not a price you can put on helping a person salvage their last remaining possessions after such devastation.”
“Seeing the smiles on the faces of everyone we helped meant the world to us,” Captain Mike said. “They were going through so much but we were able to brighten their day.”
For the next several days, the team navigated the waters throughout Rockport they stopped their yellow boat every few miles to assist boaters. Sailboat owners who needed rigging and towing to a safe dock, families who were trying their hardest to save what they had left of their boat, people who had lost everything and all that was left was their boat. No matter what they needed, the team stopped to help, no questions asked.
“Twelve years ago, almost to the day, Texas was there for us when Hurricane Katrina hit, with both arms and a big hug,” Captain Christian said. “We were seeing companies running around like pirates trying to make a buck. It just felt right to be able to finally give back to this community. I knew exactly what they were feeling and we had to help. The feeling in our heart was payment enough.”
All of the captains agree that a solid hurricane plan, heeding evacuation warnings, and doing the extra work to move your boat ahead of a storm is worth the hassle. It’s tough to know when or where the big storm might actually devastate a community, but belongings and boats can be replaced, people cannot.