“It just feels good.”
That’s the explanation we’ve heard from so many people about why they stepped up to help friends, neighbors and even complete strangers during Harvey. It’s the reason Charlie Diggs gives for helping dozens of people get out of their flooded homes in the Cypress area.
For five days, he and friends piloted a pontoon boat meant for only a few passengers. At one point, it filled with 27 people, 8 dogs and 3 cats, then started taking on water.
“That’s probably the worst memory I have,” Diggs says more than a month later, adding that everyone made it off the boat safely.
It turns out, the boat wasn’t technically his either. Diggs sold it three days before the storm hit, but called the new owner as the forecast worsened.
“I said, ‘Hey, you think I can rent that boat back from you? I feel helpless without it.’ She said, ‘Well, Charlie, are you going to help people again?’ I said, ‘Yes, ma’am.’ She said, ‘Just come over and get it,’” smiles Diggs.
When the bayous returned to their banks and the streets dried out, Diggs hopped off the boat and into fundraising. A concert promoter by trade, it didn’t take long for him to rustle up musicians to perform at the Texas Flood Jam.
“Over 50 artists played, over 2,000 plus showed up and we raised almost $84,000,” Diggs says proudly.
He is already giving that money to people who need it.
“All I see is half of a room with a refrigerator sitting in it. That was what was left of their house,” Diggs says. “To be able to hand them a $1,000 check, this will at least do something for you.”
When told some people are calling him a hero, Diggs points out, he wasn’t alone out there on the roads-turned-rivers.
“There were hundreds of people out there rescuing in boats. They are all heroes,” he says.
For the dozens who are safe because of him, he is their hero.
“Helping people just feels good,” says Diggs.
© 2017 KHOU-TV