Harvey’s Heroes: Joe and Micah Tant
Published 4:56 pm Wednesday, September 13, 2017
As flood waters from Tropical Storm Harvey rose, brothers Joe and Micah Tant had one thought in mind — to rescue their parents in Orange.
But instead of reaching the two people they had set their sights on, they gave hope and offered rescues to a total of 18 people – including two children – and four dogs.
“The first thing we were going to do was rescue our parents, but as we were trying to make our way there, more and more people began waving us down,” Joe Tant, who works at the Greater Port Arthur Chamber of Commerce, said. “We weren’t going to stop rescuing people. Micah had the boat and luckily was able to steer while I jumped off and got people into the boat.”
The Tant brothers started out in the Little Cypress area and ran, or boated, over to Orange. While it was only “16 hours of work, it felt like four days.”
“We rescued a 9-month-old baby and it was absolutely heartbreaking to see the baby wrapped in a blanket that had gotten wet. We were soaking wet as it was,” he said. “Luckily we got her to the shelter in time. It was a mess.”
After making the rescues, the brothers made it to their parents’ home and picked them up. The brothers found their parents sitting on top of their Jeep. Their father, a former sailor, then jumped in to help others in need of rescue.
“Every time we would think, ‘Hey we got everybody,’ we would hear someone else cry out for help,” he said. “We turned the boat around, grabbed a life jacket and kept on going.”
The Tants were taking the rescues to North Orange Baptist Church where there was a shelter. While there they met with one of the Orange County Commissioners, Johnny Trahan, who brought his truck as close as he could to the rescuers.
“It was very surreal. You were taking a boat where you normally drive a car,” he said. “The people were so good. There they are in a boat and are trying to help someone else; everyone offering support. It was a moment you could tell we were all Texans.”
At the time, during catastrophic flooding, people were helping their fellow man. It didn’t matter who they voted for or what they believed.
“We started out with a single thought in mind – to rescue mom and dad – and on the way there, it became bigger then we thought it would be,” he said. “Micah and I just handled it.”