I still remember how the water felt as I slogged down 16th Street heading into the biting wind; how the grit had gotten in my water shoes and how saturated my skin felt after several hours in and out of the grimy water; the fear in my stomach as a transformer blew close by; wondering whether the electricity could travel through the water to me; trying to breathe and see through the thick smoke coming off the huge fire burning at the Yacht Basin.

It seems like yesterday that I felt the tiny boy’s hand in mine as I held on to him and his sister while walking chest deep in the grime next to their mom, and pulling a rescue board piled with another sibling and a few belongings that they begged to bring along; bringing them to high ground at Broadway and piling them into a waiting police car that would take them to the emergency shelter at Ball High School; taking a moment to watch them drive off and grab an energy bar before heading to the next group a few blocks away.

Peter Davis is chief of the Galveston Island Beach Patrol. The views in this column are Davis’ and do not necessarily represent those of the beach patrol, Galveston Park Board of Trustees or any other entity.

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