TROY alum recounts harrowing Harvey rescue

Hurricane Harvey produced record flooding in Houston. (Photo courtesy the Texas National Guard)

Hurricane Harvey produced record flooding in Houston. (Photo courtesy the Texas National Guard)

Chauncy Glover is a man of faith.

On Monday, Aug. 28, 2017, he proved he’s also a man of action.

Glover, a 2007 graduate of Troy University, has spent the last three years working as a news reporter at ABC13 in Houston. When breaking news occurs in the area, he’s often the first on the scene.

But no experience could have prepared him, or his city, for the devastation of Hurricane Harvey, a Category 4 storm that rolled through Texas and Louisiana during the summer, causing dozens of deaths, nearly $200 billion in damage and historic flooding in the Houston metropolitan area.

“It was like nothing I’d ever seen before, and I’ve covered my share of big stories, breaking news, even big weather events, but nothing like this,” Glover said. “It was devastating. The damage was widespread, with so many homes flooded — east side, west side, the suburbs. Harvey didn’t have a rhyme or reason, and it devastated this city. Nobody could believe what was happening.”

As a reporter, Glover’s job was to cover the story, but he and his colleagues quickly found themselves assuming an additional role – as rescue workers.

“My colleagues and I found ourselves trying to rescue people instead of tell their stories,” Glover said. “We were watching our friends and viewers hurt. It was instinctual. Before being a journalist, I’m a human. I would like to think anybody who saw someone in dire need would step up and help. We were in boats, because there was so much water and so many trapped. You want to help these people, just as a human being. At the same time, there were so many people we could not help.”

Chauncy Glover stands with the family he helped.
Chauncy Glover stands with the family he helped.

On that particular Monday morning, Glover and his camera operator were out rescuing people on a boat when his life would change forever.

“I had just loaded up some people from a church, an elderly man who had just had open heart surgery and three or four other elderly people,” he said. “We’re headed out of this neighborhood in a boat. Suddenly this woman comes from out of nowhere, wading in the water, screaming, ‘My sister is in labor!’”

Ignoring concerns that the boat couldn’t fit more people, Glover dove out into the water and made his way through the water to the house where the pregnant woman was trapped.

It quickly became obvious she was going into labor.

“She is literally already in labor, having contractions,” Glover said. “My heart was beating fast, I was so nervous. The young lady was in a lot of pain, the people around her, no one knew what to do. I said, ‘I’ve got to do what I can.’ I was able to calm her down, time out her contractions, and that’s when I knew —  we’ve got to get her out of here or she’s going to have this baby right here.”

Carrying the woman through the water, Glover navigated his way to a city vehicle that happened to be passing by, then helped navigate an ambulance to a meeting point.

“I was afraid the whole time we were out there, just worried about her and the baby,” he said. “I was afraid, but there was nothing in me that would allow me to leave that young lady in her home.”

Glover accompanied her to the hospital, where they arrived just in time.

“She had the baby a minute and a half after she got through those hospital doors,” he said. “I was just glad and thanking God that, number one, I was there and able to help, and number two, that the mother was OK and the baby boy, baby Joseph, was OK and happy.”

Where there could have been darkness, there was light.

Glover and baby Joseph share a moment.
Glover and baby Joseph share a moment.

Later, the mother called Glover and wanted him to meet Joseph. The family then asked Glover to become Joseph’s godfather, an honor he has accepted.

“In a worst-case scenario, the best thing possible happened: a baby was born, and he and the mother were happy and healthy,” he said. “I’m a Christian, and every day I say a prayer and say to God, ‘I’m a vessel, so please use me to be a blessing to others.’ In that moment on that day, God had me in the right place at the right time to help that family. I am thankful.”

In the weeks following Joseph’s birth, Glover partnered with the Houston community to collect all the essential items baby Joseph needed, and he continues to have a close relationship with the family.