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Good Samaritans in a boat rescue flood victims

Rescue boat
Posted at 3:15 PM, Aug 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-24 22:05:38-04

WAVERLY, Tenn. (WTVF) — Good Samaritans in a boat jumped into action to save around 30 flood victims in Waverly.

They even grabbed two children and their father who was on top of a minivan. People were screaming for help as they worked tirelessly to get everyone to safety. Jeff Burkhead had to dodge heavy debris and navigate currents.

Burkhead grabbed his friend’s boat and launched it from the Burger King parking lot near Myrtle Street during the flooding.

Nurse practitioner Hope Dretzka was at the clinic up the street. She jumped into the boat to help him. Some of the people she rescued have been her patients in the past. “Just seeing each person we pulled from the water was someone I’ve had conversations with and helped when they were sick, and now seeing them scream for help is hard,” Dretzka said.

Ricco Ralston, an 8th-grade teacher, showed up as his mom was trapped. Jeff helped Ricco get his mom, and they were strong enough to pull more people from the water. Ralston said, “There was a teenage boy we pulled off. He was hanging from a pole, and it’s no telling how long he’d been hanging there and we were fortunate enough to get him.”

Folks in the community said they’re heroes. “It’s heartwarming, thank you, everybody that’s messaged me and all, I just did what I thought I had to do. It was God that kept us safe and everybody that I had in my boat, no questions asked,” Burkhead said.

He said it was divine intervention that his friend happened to leave his boat at his house Friday too. Burkhead said, “It done the job, kept me safe.”

They were also able to save some dogs - a small comfort for displaced families who lost everything.