Local men heed the call, rescue neighbors

Local men heed the call, rescue neighbors
Alex Sawyer rescued flooded residents on Yacht Club Road by canoe.

Alex Sawyer’s mother, Duncan, called him at 6 a.m. on Sept. 12 to let him know she and his dad, Tom, had survived Hurricane Irma, but the flood waters were rising at their home on Yacht Club Road.

Alex, who lives on higher ground around the corner on Pirates Cove Road, decided to drive his Jeep over to pick up his parents before the flood waters got any deeper.
He called his mother at 7 a.m., but there was no answer. At 7:30, still no answer. “I’ve never been so terrified in all my life,” recalled Alex. “I was so afraid my parents were dead…and that just couldn’t happen.”

Alex was dazed, praying and paddling up Yacht Club Road in his canoe, when he finally got a call from his mother and knew she and his dad were safe. It was then that he began hearing the frantic cries for help coming at him from residents all along the way. He and several neighbors, including Drew Cleland, Jeff Crabtree, Camp Freleigh and Jeff Terrebonne, rescued residents up and down Yacht Club Road all day long.

“Alex and his friends are heroes,” said his mother. “This is one for the history books!”
Although they lost their dock and their garage was flooded, the Sawyers’ home remained dry, helping to preserve some precious historic memorabilia including the iconic Hurricane Dora front-page story in the Jacksonville Journal and the Hurricane Dora book.

“Hurricane Dora, ironically, happened on September 11, 1964,” said Duncan Sawyer as she and her husband, Tom, reviewed the newspaper and book. “I remember my brother, Logan, was 10 years old, and we were lying on the living room floor watching television when all the lights went out.

“This hurricane felt familiar. I remember, back in 1964, both Pirates Cove and Yacht Club Drive were flooded and out of electricity for weeks. I’m just grateful for JEA, cellphones, good friends like Elizabeth Howard, and a great son named Alex!”

By Susan Brandenburg
Resident Community News

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