The Coast Guard Foundation will recognize Texas Coast Guard members at our Annual Houston Awards Dinner on November 1, 2018.
CWO Christian Wilson, USCG On the evening of august 25, 2017, Hurricane Harvey made landfall and devastated southeast Texas with catastrophic flooding. The five-day rain event, which brought a historic 52 inches of rainfall to the Texas coast, inundated the Houston metropolitan area and nearby communities, causing thousands of residents, now victims of inescapable flooding, to seek shelter and rescue from first responders.
CWO Wilson served at the Galveston County Emergency Operations Center (EOC) during the storm. Though assigned as a Marine Inspector, he seamlessly transitioned to, and led the coordination of, urban search and rescue (SAR) efforts throughout Galveston County. In this dynamic operation, he utilized assets from the Coast Guard, Galveston County Sheriffs, Texas Search and Rescue, Briar-Reno Fire Department, Texas National Guard and the “Texas Navy.”
Throughout the course of the event, the Galveston County EOC fielded over 1,500 calls through the 911 system and organized the rescue of more than 3,000 local citizens. CWO Wilson personally managed over 600 of these cases and was responsible for the rescue of more than 2,400 lives.
At the onset of the storm, CWO Wilson developed a Quick Response Card for the EOC staff to utilize while fielding calls, ensuring that critical pieces of information were recorded. Gathering this information enabled him the ability to prioritize response efforts and increase efficiency of rescue crews.
Most notably, he quickly took action after receiving a plea for help on his personal phone when a photo of elderly wheelchair bound and medically vulnerable residents trapped in waist-deep water at a nursing home went viral. CWO Wilson dispatched two dump trucks to retrieve 15 elderly residents and their caretakers. As the dump trucks drove down the flooded road leading to the nursing home, they were impeded by the substantial outcry for help from flood-ravaged citizens. Determined to rescue as many people possible, CWO Wilson collaborated with the National Guard to dispatch 22 high-water vehicles to recover over 200 Dickinson residents, thus allowing the dump trucks to proceed to the nursing home.
Because of CWO Wilson’s actions, all 15 residents and three caretakers were safely evacuated from the nursing home and transported to shelters where they received critical medical care. CWO Wilson’s unrelenting efforts throughout Hurricane Harvey were truly life changing to thousands of citizens in the local community. The Coast Guard Foundation is proud to honor CWO Wilson for his outstanding service to our nation. His heroism, bravery, and devotion to duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Coast Guard.
MSU TEXAS CITY: LT Lindsay Cook, LT Brad Bryan, LTJG Gregory Velliky, LTJG James Gardner
The devastating five-day stretch of record rainfall and flooding in the greater Houston area, brought on by Hurricane Harvey in August 2017, isolated communities desperately in need of resources. One such community involved children dependent on frequent dialysis to help filter their blood, removing waste and extra fluids due to their own kidney’s inability to function properly. Days after the storm began, the U.S. Coast Guard received a call from a local doctor concerned about pediatric patients who had been unable to receive dialysis treatment due to the flooded streets and lack of resources. Some children had been without treatment for several days, exceeding the time they had missed treatment in the past.
LT Brad Bryan, liaison to the Texas State Emergency Operations Center, immediately began creating a map with the Texas Department of Emergency Management that pinpointed the location of each child, which was color- coded based on their level of critical care needed. They quickly deployed a sweeping rescue effort that included first responders from the Houston police and fire departments, the Coast Guard, a Federal Emergency Management Agency rescue team and the United States Air Force. Over two days this team located and evacuated 33 pediatric patients who were experiencing symptoms of kidney failure while they were unable to reach the two main pediatric dialysis centers that serve southeast Texas. This highly complicated evacuation was made possible through the coordinated efforts of the team, who organized parents, Texas Children’s Hospital, multiple local county emergency operations centers, and air assets from the Coast Guard, U.S. Air Force and State of Texas.
Through this massive effort, all 33 children’s lives were saved. The Coast Guard Foundation is proud to honor the crew from MSU Texas City for their outstanding service to our nation. Their heroism, bravery, and devotion to duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Coast Guard.