Texas Rescuer Has Boat Stolen, He Didn’t Stop Helping Texas
Collin McKnight is a US Navy veteran, a Red Cross Instructor, and hates sitting around doing nothing. When Texas was hit by Hurricane Harvey, he took his brand new boat and headed out to help.
He was put in touch with the Houston Rescue Group on Zello. They dispatched people to needed areas. Collin was tasked with helping the high risk rescues such as people trapped in their homes, or “code blue” critical medical rescues.
“I did 4 CPRs on the bow of my boat. My rescues were more targeted than just floating around looking for rescues. The dispatchers sent us to specific places, like putting pins on a map. Unfortunately, when there’s only a chimney sticking out of the water, it’s a little harder to use GPS.”
He ran from 20 to 60 miles in any direction from rescue to rescue. He told us he and the other rescue boats were shot at with a handgun for 3 hours in one area and though the dispatchers told him to leave, he refused and kept on working.
He doesn’t let bad people stop him, so he ignored the bullets hitting the boat and water around him. Others ran while being shot at. We didn’t get the impression Collin is a man who runs from anything.
“I lived on a diet of chocolate raisins and 5 Hour Energy drinks from August 25 to August 29. But I kept the other supplies in my boat for the people who needed rescue.”
One of the dispatchers who sent him out on rescues, Brenda Guerrero, wrote the following in a letter, which reads in part:
He was in Crosby, Texas when the chemical plant exploded.
“That plant was only 1000 meters (1093+ yards) from my boat. That thing put a layer of highly flammable liquid on top the water. Law Enforcement forced us out.”
On the way from Crosby, his boat trailer suffered a blowout. Since he had given his spare tire away previously to a member of the Cajun Navy, he was stuck. He was forced to leave the boat at the side of Highway 146.
He notified Baytown Police that it was there and flipped into supply runs and other efforts coordinating military aircraft until someone brought him a tire. The Cajun Navy had a member bring him a donated tire and rim from Louisiana over night.
“Upon returning to the place I left the boat I found it missing, I contacted law enforcement and they verified that it was stolen and not towed.”
He said it was stolen sometime after 8:36 pm on August 29, the last time police drove by checking on it.
Collin doesn’t regret one moment of his mission to help the victims of Harvey. He is unhappy about having his boat stolen.
“It was stressful. I had to be out in 80 mph winds and the rain. I’ve lived through Katrina, but never in my life have I seen water like that. There was 10 feet of water in just 15 minutes. Some places had 28 feet, and my depth finder showed 59.3 feet one place in the middle of the city. My bilge pumps ran 24/7.
I’m a single dad and take care of my parents too. But doing these things for people in need, it’s what we do as Americans.”
There are some people who steal property that belong to others. In the case of Collin McKnight, they stole a boat that could have been used to save more lives. There is a Gofundme set up to help him get another boat. You can follow Collin on Twitter: @collinspeaks1.