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 'He felt relief:' The story behind the touching photo of baby asleep during Harvey rescue

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Bài gửiTiêu đề: 'He felt relief:' The story behind the touching photo of baby asleep during Harvey rescue   Wed Aug 30, 2017 9:58 pm

Before the photo that would make her the face of the Hurricane Harvey rescue effort, Cathy Pham was trapped on the second story of her southwest Houston home, watching the floodwaters rise.

She; her husband, Troy Pham; their 13-month-old son, Aidan; and a 73-year-old neighbor had sought refuge in a loft bedroom in the early hours of Sunday as Hurricane Harvey drenched the city.

Water on their street was chest deep as Brays Bayou overflowed, something that the family has never seen in seven years of living there. The first floor of their home filled with 2 feet of water.


Houston SWAT officer Daryl Hudeck carried Catherine Pham and her 13-month-old son, Aidan, to safety after they were rescued Sunday.(Louis DeLuca/Staff Photographer)

“We were waiting for daylight to try to get out, but by that point the water kept rising and rising and it was unsafe to even try to get out [by truck],” Troy said by phone on Monday. It wasn’t going to be possible for them to leave without help.

Then, they heard helicopters and voices. Troy decided to see whether the sounds were rescue crews.

Troy took his kayak about 400 yards down the street, where he found members of the Houston SWAT team and a volunteer civilian and son helping people get out of the Meyerland neighborhood. The crew of six used their motorized boat to help ferry the family from their home.

During the rescue, Aidan fell asleep cradled in his mother’s embrace as Houston SWAT member Daryl Hudeck brought them to dry ground off of Interstate 610 , where Dallas Morning News photographer Louis DeLuca had been waiting. The image he captured ran on the front page of Monday’s print editions and was carried around the world.

How is it possible that a baby could sleep during such chaos? His father thinks that Aidan knew he was safe.

“The wind was blowing, he felt comfortable and he fell asleep. I have to say he felt some relief, too, because we weren’t as anxious,” Troy said.

The rescue happened so fast, the Phams were unable to get Hudeck’s contact information. He asked Cathy her son’s name and age as he carried them, and then was off to help more people.

“I would have liked to say ‘thank you’ and somehow get his contact info get the whole crew together to say thank you and repay them for rescuing us,” Cathy said.

The family is safe now, just 4 miles away from their home at a friend’s house. They don’t expect to be able to get into their home for several days.

The Phams' home hasn’t been assessed for damage, but the only thing that matters to Cathy is the box she put in the highest spot possible in the home. It has the outfit he wore home from the hospital, a hat from his first birthday and other precious mementos. The other material items can be replaced.

She said that the family has been moved by the kindness of first responders and regular Houstonians volunteering to help people, like the stranger who offered to give the family a ride to their friend’s house after the rescue. That moment was not captured on photo, but is equally as heartwarming for the family.

“It’s hard to put the feelings of gratitude into words for their efforts and putting their lives in danger,” Troy said.

CORRECTION, 8:56 a.m., Aug. 29, 2017: In an earlier version of this story, the name of the 13-month-old boy being carried to safety in the arms of his mother was misspelled in the photo captions. His name is Aidan Pham, not Aiden.
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