As unprecedented flooding continues to ravage Houston, TX, a special group of volunteers has come to offer some relief to the city: Louisiana's "Cajun Navy."
The grassroots collective, along with the "Cajun Coast Search and Rescue Team," made its way to Texas Sunday, ready to aid first responders as the state got slammed with the worst storm the U.S. has seen in more than a decade.
"We’re burning a lot of gas trying to get boots on the ground," volunteer Benji Terro told The Washington Post. "But when we help people, well, that’s the point, the whole thing. This is familiar ground for us. We are from Louisiana, and we know floods."
The volunteers are part of a larger collective effort that's seen private boats used for rescue operations. They've made their way to Houston to help authorities navigate flooded areas as they seek to rescue people stranded by the storm. As of Monday, Terro said he and his cousin had rescued 40 people.
The Cajun Navy has also been communicating information about rescues through its Facebook page, which has more than 90,000 followers. The Cajun Coast Search and Rescue Team is utilizing Facebook to communicate information about rescues too. The pages are publishing the names, addresses and contact numbers of people in need of assistance.
Another group with a very similar name, Louisiana Cajun Navy, has also made its way to Texas to aid in relief efforts. This group came together in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, according to CNN.
There have been several similarities drawn between the devastation caused by Katrina and Harvey in recent days — although there are significant differences between the two. Nevertheless, this group knows better than most just how difficult such situations can be.
"In my life I've been through a lot of storms including Katrina," volunteer Joshua Lincoln told CNN. "Seeing how people in Texas responded and helped us in a disaster kind of tugged at my heart. My house was flooded and I lost all kinds of things during Katrina."
Their Facebook page boasts nearly 200,000 followers, and in recent days its been filled with postings regarding Harvey relief. A recent post is about houstonharveyrescue.com, a website to aid rescuers trying to locate people in need of rescue.
The groups have been getting plenty of love and support online, with messages of praise and thanks. "Unfortunately I have been ashamed to be an American for a while now ... but THIS makes me PROUD to be from tha' South," one person wrote. "Thank you to all Cajun Navy, and may you and yours be blessed a thousand fold for your acts of kindness and bravery!"
Another put it more succinctly: "Bless those whom help! Love shine the way!"