09.06.2017People

Hurricane Harvey survival story: One employee, two perspectives

By: Jason Small
Video Thumbnail Hurricane Harvey

“Are you flooded in?” asks Angel’s brother through the phone.

“Ya.”

“I’m on my way,” her brother responds as he hangs up the phone, heading out to rescue Angel and her children in his boat.

This is just one of the countless calls for help that took place during a critical moment in time as floodwaters stranded people in their homes.

The night before, Angel and her two children watched the water line rising.

"Rain just started pouring down, out of nowhere. The power went out — you went outside and it was complete darkness. Water started coming in to the house and we were trying to get everything upstairs. The cars were all under water in the driveway. Houston was flooding. It was flooding fast," shares Angel’s son Julio Vitales.

Angel and her children awakened the next morning to the sound of helicopters as the Coast Guard rescued their neighbors from rooftops. Her family had moved to the second floor overnight to escape nearly three feet of water in their house. Outside, cars sat submerged as the street was hidden beneath four to five feet of flooding.

“I called my brother that morning because he had a boat. As we were coming back we tried to pick up one here and pick up one there. You can’t leave anybody behind,” Angel says as she does her best to smile while trying to manage the surge of emotion in her voice.

“We made about five trips in the boat. People were using our phones to get hold of their family,” adds Julio.

More than a job

When you’re proud of where you work, you find yourself naturally sharing the same sense of focus you hear from your coworkers. At Verizon, we place tremendous emphasis on the strength of our network. But no matter where you work or who you are when the safety of your family is at stake, nothing else matters. 

Angel Vitales and her son Julio

Angel Vitales and her son Julio stop for a moment of comfort while cleaning out their house after three feet of flooding from Hurricane Harvey.

Speaking with Angel on the phone, I realize we’re employees that share similar pride in where we work. We’re both parents trying to make a difference in our world, just like anyone else. But knowing that what we do makes a difference in moments when it matters most — that drives the best in all of us.

As Hurricane Harvey recovery efforts begin and Hurricane Irma threatens the United States, we will continue to do our part because we know just how important it is. 

Verizon has committed $10 million to relief efforts, learn more about the donation.

For related media inquiries, please contact story.inquiry@one.verizon.com

About the author(s): 

Jason Small is a member of the Verizon Communications team. His background includes online and offline roles in digital marketing and communications within corporate, agency and startup environments across more than 20 brands. You can connect with Jason on Twitter @JasonSmallChats.