Imagine it’s 2 in the morning, flood water is up to your eyes and you’re pushing an air mattress behind an apartment building. You’re pushing through water and debris, staying calm, trying to rescue families screaming for help and also you’re 13 years old.
13-year-old Virgil Smith rescued 17 of his neighbors during Hurricane Harvey.
When flood waters poured into his apartment complex in Dickinson, he and his mom, Lisa Wallace, took shelter at a stranger’s second floor apartment.
Virgil says he got a call from his friend in another building.
“He was like, VJ, can you come help us because you know that we can’t swim,” says Smith.
Smith says he swam back to his apartment, pulled out the air mattress his family uses for guests, and went to work, rescuing his friends.
“I put him, his two sisters, one baby and his brother, and I had my other friend by the hand right here, and I set his momma and his step-dad on the air mattress,” said Smith.
With the help of two other neighbors, VIRGIL says they pushed the mattress holding his friends across the flood water back to where his mom was on the second floor stairway
He then kept going, rescuing other neighbors.
He says they found an elderly woman in a wheelchair in one apartment.
Lisa says her faith gave her the strength to watch her son swim into dark flood waters.
“All I’m thinking about is I know he’s able to save. He can rescue, he can swim, and I just had faith in the Lord that everything was gonna be alright,” said Wallace.
“I thank God that no snakes or no alligators bit us,” said Smith.