6 Hurricane Harvey Helpers Who Are Making a Difference

Epic Flooding Inundates Houston After Hurricane Harvey
Hurricane Harvey is causing destruction across parts of Texas. (Image: Scott Olson/Getty Images News/GettyImages)

Hurricane Harvey is wreaking devastation across parts of Texas, leaving immense destruction in its wake.

Recently reassessed as a Category 4 hurricane, Harvey was described by the National Weather Service as an “unprecedented” event and “beyond anything experienced.” As it continues its path and many lose their homes, it is important to come together and acknowledge those who, in times of trouble, are selflessly helping those affected by the disaster.

Here are just a few of the people trying to make a difference in Texas during what is an undoubtedly terrifying time.

Animal Rescue: Ruaridh Connellan

The Daily Mail photographer was on assignment in Victoria, Texas, when he rescued two dogs that had been tied up and abandoned by their owners. Police departments are warning against leaving animals behind during natural disasters, with a Roman Forest Police Department Facebook post stating, “It is against the law to keep a dog on a chain during extreme weather conditions.”

Taking Charge: Zachary Dearing

Hailed as a "hometown hero," Dearing, 29, is unofficially running a storm shelter in an elementary school housing more than 120 people in Rockport, Texas. The Kentucky native — a civilian with no medical expertise — took charge of the shelter while waiting for overwhelmed officials to provide supplies and emergency management, Reuters reports. He's been leading a group of young volunteers to bring order and routinely check on everyone in the shelter, as well as rescue stranded people nearby.

Giving Shelter to Survivors: Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale

Jim McIngvale, affectionately known as “Mattress Mack,” is the owner of the Houston-based Gallery Furniture. He turned two of his furniture stores into shelters for hurricane survivors, offering beds, food and restrooms. He also organized volunteers and trucks to help rescue stranded people.

Life Savers: Brandi Smith and Mario Sandoval

A post shared by Brandi (@iambrandismith) on

While reporting live for local Houston channel KHOU 11, Smith spotted a man stranded in a truck that was engulfed by the water, according to the Birmingham Mail. Sandoval, the channel's photographer, talked the man through exiting the truck while Smith flagged down a sheriff’s car, bringing the man to safety.

Rescuing Stranded People: The Cajun Navy

A network of boat-owning helpers already credited with multiple rescues during Harvey’s wrath, the group began during Hurricane Katrina, when, the New Yorker reports, it successfully organized rescue efforts via its Cajun Navy 2016 Facebook group. Members of the original 2016 group made their way to Houston, where an additional group called Louisiana Cajun Navy is taking on rescue efforts.

Caring for Displaced Pets: RedRover

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Also a strong presence during Hurricane Katrina, Sacramento-based national nonprofit RedRover is making its way to Houston, according to the Sacramento Bee. The organization will care for furry friends displaced by Harvey, organizing volunteers who can feed, walk and take care of animals.

How Can YOU Help?

While many brave souls are stepping up to aid those in need, the damage is far from being over. Here are some things you can do to help:

Donate money: Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner established the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund, which is accepting tax-deductible flood-relief donations. The Red Cross is also requesting donations.

Donate food: Food banks in Houston and Corpus Christi, among other affected areas, are looking for help feeding survivors.

Donate blood: South Texas Blood & Tissue Center and Carter BloodCare are in critical need, and Texas residents are encouraged to donate.

Donate time: You can volunteer your time through the Red Cross or use the Volunteer Houston website.

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