LUBBOCK, TX - Three Lubbock District Game Wardens called out to the coast Friday to combat Hurricane Harvey and have not left since. They continue to join the fight against the mass devastation to the area.
"It's disheartening," Lubbock District Game Warden Aaron Sims said as he described the impacted areas along the coast. "People spend their entire lives building these houses and it can get wiped away in single night."
Sims and two other Lubbock game wardens left the South Plains at about 3:30 a.m. Friday to report to the coast. Their first destination was Woodsboro, which is about 51 miles north-east of Rockport.
"It's been none stop since then, switching from the epicenter of the hurricane around the Rockport area, we were going from house to house doing search recover, doing welfare checks, and also guarding property. Other businesses that were damaged by the winds in the epicenter down there and make sure they weren't getting lotted," Sims said.
After Hurricane Harvey transitioned to a tropical storm and the immediate danger was gone, Sims' unit was redirected to the Houston area. The three game wardens joined 60 others at Fort Bend Command Post where they have been working 18 plus hour days since.
"Here in Houston the water started rising so quick, you had to shelter in place, they had to make that decision for themselves," Sims said. "Should I try and drive out when I know the roads are bad? Or do I try and stay in my home and hope a first responder, game warden, or someone else comes there and tries to help them out."
With little communication resources from the widespread damage of the area, Sims and a team were given assignments where they took a map and a flat-bottom or air boat to find survivors looking for help.
"Lots of agencies here from federal, to state, to local and we're all working together to try and rescue these civilians that are stuck in the houses," Sims said.
They are also serving alongside law enforcement agencies to combat the increasing crime in the area.
In despite of long days, Sims said he's always reminded to carry on when others cannot.
"When the sun is going down and you still have people in apartments and houses that you know need to get out of there, it's tough to make that call," Sims said.
The Lubbock Game Wardens were given a five day assignment starting on Saturday. Other game wardens around the state, as well as, Lousiana and Florida agencies are on stand-by waiting to take their place when these servicemen return home.
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