San Diego man involved in hundreds of Harvey rescues - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

San Diego man involved in hundreds of Harvey rescues

Posted: Updated:

SAN DIEGO (NEWS 8) — As recovery efforts continue in Texas, the death toll from Harvey has risen to at least 60.  

Among those lending a hand in Houston were a local San Diego man and his brother who both helped rescue hundreds from the catastrophic flooding.  

RELATED: San Diego donations will double for Hurricane Harvey through the Red Cross  

"[It] looked like a mass exodus, just people from all these neighborhoods leaving their homes," said Harvey rescuer Jonathan Evola.  

He has photos of his rescues following Hurrican Harvey.  

"The little girl was so scared," Jonathan said of one photo subject. "I gave her my jacket and she actually threw up in my jacket and she was shivering." 

Jonathan and his brother Joshua were hailed as heroes on CNN last week. 

When many saw the heart-wrenching image of Jonathan carrying an elderly woman on his back. 

"She was afraid of what was in the water," he said.  

Asked if he was ever scared to help, Jonathan answered "no." 

"We've been conditioned and prepared for a time like this," Jonathan said. 

The Evola brothers' mother was a missionary, who moved the family to Israel where they grew up during the Gulf War. 

"All these situations have kind of prepared us something like this," said Jonathan. "We weren't scared, we weren't nervous." 

RELATED: Switchfoot and Lifehouse release new song for Hurricane Harvey relief

Jonathan works as a handyman in San Diego; but he was visiting his brother in the Dallas, Texas, area when they heard of the Harvey destruction and decided to take his fishing boat and help. 

"[As] soon as he asked I said 'sure, let's go,'" Jonathan said. 

He missed his return flight to San Diego instead taking a boat, large truck and supplies on an 8-hour drive to Houston in traffic before arriving in flood waters. 

"We were in the middle of it, it was pouring down," said Jonathan. "I've never seen rain like that."  

Many feared toxic water, snakes or alligators, but the brothers waded in murky water to help. 

"It was dark, [there were] no lights," Jonathan said. "Every neighborhood looked like it was in the middle of a lake and it looked like houses were floating essentially." 

In the end, the brothers rescued hundreds of people, getting them to shelters even as their boat broke down. 

"It was conviction. We felt guilty for being in a safe place seeing all these people who couldn't take care of themselves in harm's way," said Jonathan. "We knew people's lives were at stake." 

Jonathan has started a relief organization called the Harvey Life Line, which has a list of items needed for Harvey victims like first aid kits, wheel barrows, and carpet cutters. 


Powered by Frankly
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2019 KFMB-TV. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices.