A Risk Worth Taking Braving Hurricane Katrina

Thousands of people hastened to highway I-10 to begin a tedious journey out of the path of Hurricane Katrina, soon to put the city of New Orleans under water. John sat indifferent, on his sofa, watching a rerun of his favorite TV series.
by Brother Hieu Nguyen, LC | Source:
Thousands of people hastened to highway I-10 to begin a tedious journey out of the path of Hurricane Katrina, soon to put the city of New Orleans under water. John sat indifferent, on his sofa, watching a rerun of his favorite TV series, “The Three Stooges.”

"Honey, aren't going to help me?" exclaimed his wife, as she searched through her house, looking for any valuables she could take with her.

"No, I am staying behind with my boat," he replied, yawning as he stood up to get something to eat. His wife stopped dead, stared at him, and blurted, "John, are you out of your mind? The hurricane could arrive at any moment. We have to leave now!"

John got into his truck and drove off toward the dock where he'd kept his boat for the last 30 years. He got in, turned on the engine, and began checking around, making sure that everything was working, then returned to the helm and sat down on the pilot seat, reminiscing about the many adventures they had seen together.

"I can't leave her alone in a moment like this," he thought to himself, "She's my life. If worse comes to worse, I will go down with her."

__________________________


John's wife waited anxiously for news of her husband, since the hurricane had struck two days before. No phones. No communications. She spent sleepless nights pacing back and forth in her daughter, Tracey's, living room.

Tracey turned on the news, hoping for sign of their neighborhood. Stranded people in the Superdome and stranded people on bridges were not the only news this time around: there was a man going around the neighborhood in his boat, rescuing survivors. She jumped off her couch and shouted, "Mom, Dad's alive and he's a hero!"

__________________________


Katrina had struck, broken the levies, and flooded the city, but John had made it to a cement building nearby before the destruction. As he waited for the rescuers to come, he thought of the poor neighbors trapped in their homes because they were unable to evacuate. John decided to swim back to his house, unlock his small boat, submerged in the water, flip it over, and go around rescuing the few remaining survivors in the area.

Instead of waiting to be rescued, John took a risk. He faced the dangers of being swallowed up by an alligator, bitten by a snake, or simply drowning during the four-hour swim back to his house. Because of his heroic effort dozens of people were reunited with their families.

Society needs heroes who are capable of setting aside their problems or comforts, and seeing the devastating tragedies around them. We need heroes who, against all odds, are capable of making a difference in society, heroes like my dad, John Nguyen.



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