When Hurricane Harvey hit Texas, Nathan Oltorik felt God’s call to make a difference in the lives of the people affected by the storm. After praying about it with his parents and setting some ground rules, Nathan assembled a team and had everything set for the trip in 48 hours.
Nathan’s team included an open water rescue swimmer, firefighter, and Purple Heart US army veteran who is in medical school. Combined with Nathan’s training as an Eagle Scout in disaster response, wilderness survival, first aid, and CPR, the team was well prepared for any situation.
With a donated flat-bottom boat from Mercury Marine and Nathan’s truck, the team gathered supplies for themselves and headed off. Along the way, bystanders donated both money and items to help with relief efforts, like gloves, socks, clothing, and diapers.
Nathan and his team coordinated with other responders to rendezvous in the flooded areas of Port Arthur/Orange Texas area. There, they worked with a group that included many prior military and US Army Rangers. Night and day, they were dispatched for search and rescue in the boat and truck, bringing supplies to those in need and rescuing survivors.
The situation in Texas was difficult and reminiscent of a combat zone. They faced obstacles in the water like downed power lines, loose limbs, and other debris. The team also encountered armed looters who shot two members of the larger group of responders that they were part of.
After four days of continuous work, the team exhausted their supplies. During that time, they served five different Texan cities: Port Arthur, Orange, Beaumont, Vidor, and Houston. Thanks to Nathan’s GoFundMe page, he had also raised $4,460 to continue aiding Hurricane Harvey relief efforts.
As they returned home, they learned that Hurricane Irma was headed to Florida, so they brought supplies back to Florida. After some rest, the team prepared to do what they could to help with Irma here at home.
Nathan felt God’s call, and he responded with courage and selflessness. While God doesn’t call all of us to help with rescue efforts in flooded cities, He does call each of us to use our talents and skills with courage and selflessness. May we all be obedient when God calls us to make a difference in the world around us.