Ted Oberg reunites with 'Uncle Russell' on Rescue Row

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Ted Oberg talks to "Uncle Russell" who saved his family during Harvey (KTRK)

On August 28th, as Harvey's rain continued to pile up in Houston homes, hundreds of volunteers helped thousands of evacuees get out of flooded neighborhoods in northeast Houston. The intersection of Beltway 8 and Tidwell was the end of what became known as Rescue Row - miles of boats and trucks heading back and forth into the flooded CE King area to pull people out.

That night ABC13 reporter Ted Oberg set up camp at the corner as evacuees came got off boats and massive trucks headed towards safety - some into the arms of waiting loved ones.

Standing in the rain, 10-year-old Russell Belton told ABC13 he'd walked down flooded streets in water up to his neck.

"I started to cry a little bit," Belton told ABC13 that night.

Belton's house was dry but Russell had waded through neck deep water with older brothers & sisters and much younger nephews, but not his mom who couldn't make it home from work that night.

Russell told us about the three infant niece and nephews he helped move from the house to safety.

This week, a month later, 'Uncle Russell' smiled as he remembered that night recently telling us, "We've been good."

And by most measures he is. Russell's home never took on water - homes a few blocks away took on plenty. His school is o-k. His older brother's will be closed all year. Some of Russell's extended family moved in with him after their apartment flooded.

But we wanted to know what brave 'Uncle Russell' remembered of that escape through Houston's worst ever flood without his mom.

"That there was tragic." He told us, "I really wanted to fall apart."

Miles away his mother was more and more anxious. Stuck at work and unable to get past flood waters to save them.

Torre Perrodin, Russell's Mother, told ABC13, "I was at work. They were texting me videos of helicopter rescues. I wasn't sure (he would get there). I panicked a few times."

Russell told us, "When I saw her. I shouted momma!" ABC13 video from that night shows him riding outside the cab of a giant yellow dump truck searching the night scene for his waiting mother.

"I heard him," she told us.

"I hugged her and started crying."

Russell tells us he's sleeping o-k these days and only once had a dream about not being able to find a safe place in the storm.

"I just hope it never happens again. At least not until I am like 30-something."

Russell just turned 11 three weeks ago. His math gives us all 20 plus years before we ever have to deal with this again.

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Related Topics:
hurricane harveyroad to recoveryhouston strongHouston
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