A privately owned heavy military vehicle already well known around Kansas City for a flood rescue carried its drivers into a life-changing experience this past week in Texas.
Cyrus Dawson drove the truck from Blue Springs into Port Neches, Texas, where marooned families in homes and apartment buildings needed evacuations, water and medicines.
The coastal towns east of Houston bared flood scars and debris in power lines and higher than highway interchanges, he said, laying so many people’s livelihoods and possessions to waste.
“This is huge,” he said by phone from the Houston area Sunday night. The rescue work, he said, “makes me want to recalculate what I’m doing in life.”
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Landscape business operators Dawson and Spencer Sherf previously made headlines when they took their military surplus Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck to the rescue of an Overland Park family of seven who had been trapped on their roof during a local flood in August.
After eight hours of waiting on their south Overland Park rooftop, Emiliano Yepez-Martinez’s family was rescued at 12:30 p.m. Tuesday by Cyrus Dawson and Spencer Sherf. Video courtesy of Spencer Sherf/Facebook. Jason Boatright The Kansas City Star
Then came Hurricane Harvey and the record-setting flooding of Houston and southeastern Texas. On Aug. 28 they embarked for Texas with their truck, which they say can plow through water up to 7-feet deep.
In the Houston area they teamed up for a while with what has become known as the Cajun Navy, a Dunkirk-styled mobilization of citizens with boats, he said. Thursday and Friday they were working in Port Neches, helping private and public service boats get to flooded areas, he aid.
The truck has a crane that was being used to lift and carry rescue boats through low-water areas between high-water areas. They also ferried out people who wanted to leave apartment complexes and other residences.
The duo was assisted by Kansas City-area volunteers Cory Crofford and Lindsey Leimbach, who accompanied them on the mission, Dawson said.
Before the vehicle became known as a flood rescue truck, it served Dawson’s Stonehenge Landscape & Exteriors, delivering materials for swimming pools, landscaping and masonry jobs.
The 20-ton truck rides on eight 52-inch wheels and can do up to 65 mph on the highway to help speed the long ride to Houston.