Posted: Wednesday, September 6, 2017 9:48 am |Updated: 9:51 am, Wed Sep 6, 2017.
From the Caswell Messenger
Jack and Will Crumpton are both Eagle scouts from Caswell County. Read about how they came to the aide of residents that were in need of rescue from the Texas flood waters.
We all saw on TV the devastation and flooding that Hurricane Harvey caused in Texas and Louisianna. But while we were watching the reports from our dry homes, two local men were waist deep in the murky water while they saved people’s lives.
Jack and Will Crumpton are students at Western Carolina University where they belong to the Bass Fishing Club. “One day our president sent out an email that they are in dire need of help,” remembered Jack. “We all talked about it in a meeting and we decided if we were in that situation we would want others to do the same, we could only imagine what it was like down there. We said, ‘Okay, who’s in?’ and the individuals willing to go raised their hands. Within 24 hours we were on the road. It was like the flip of a switch, we were ready.”
A Go Fund Me page was set up Tuesday to cover their expenses during the trip and within one day they had raised over $4,000. Much of that money will be donated to relief funds to help the victims.
The group of 12 men drove 15 hours on Wednesday towing their four boats to join the other brave volunteers who were gathering in the areas hardest hit by the hurricane.
Jack and Will’s mother, Penny Crumpton, said that she was nervous for their safety but more than that she was proud of her sons. “It’s a mother’s dream to see your children be all that they can be and everything that you’ve taught them to be and to serve the needs of others.”
For the men, the experience was very powerful. “It’s unlike anything I’ve ever seen. It’s just devastating to even drive through it,” said Jack on Friday. “As a group we had four boats and 12 guys and we rescued over 40 people the day before yesterday and yesterday.”
Jack explained that the rescue operations were coordinated by a specialized app. “It’s like a CB radio. They would reach out and provide addresses and then guys like us could go to those addresses and see if there were any individuals trapped. When we got there we would pull up to the front door with our boats and ask if they wanted a ride to safety. They were in tears. It was life changing.”
Getting to the addresses was not always a smooth ride as the group had to navigate around debris in the water. “We would just go down the center of the road and you would see a truck completely under the water and all you can see is the hood. We would have to dodge them. There were mailboxes floating in the water you’d have to dodge them. It was dangerous. You don’t know what’s floating up under the water that you can’t see. I mean, there are alligators out there.”
Still the team spent most of the day standing in the dangerous waters, walking the boats along or helping people into them.
“My brother and I rescued three individuals; two elderly women who could hardly walk and their son. We got them out of there, helped them to a truck. I couldn’t imagine what situation they would’ve been in if there were no volunteers there. It scares me to even think about it.”
“One of our boats rescued a 90 year old woman in a wheelchair. The water was up to her feet and she was sitting there helpless. That one rescue made the whole trip worth it,” he continued, explaining that the group always stayed together during the rescues.
The first day the team worked until 10 p.m. and then slept in their trucks at a truck stop. “We stayed around there because we knew we were going to be needed in the morning,” said Jack. “We finished our last rescue for that evening and then we decided that, without knowing the area, we’d better get off the water. We got to the truck stop slept and then got back at it the next morning until about 4 p.m.”
After finishing the search in that area, the club headed to a local donation distribution center and helped organize and hand out the donations that were then loaded onto trucks to be brought to places in need.
“We slept in that warehouse that night on the cement floor so were all pretty tired,” said Jack. On Friday, the Coast Guard was on the scene with their high water rescue team so the group started on their way back to college and their classes. “We helped so many families, as much as we could, so we felt we would be in the way if we stayed.”
Penny said she thinks it helped that both of their sons were Troop 452 Eagle Scouts. “They are using a lot of their Boy Scout skills and the life skills that they have acquired as good old country folks also. They turned a hobby into an asset to help other people.”
“We are certainly most proud of them,” said Penny. “They deserve all the credit. They are heroes.”