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Helicopter crew recalls family-of-four Harvey relief mission

Reserve Citizen Airmen Staff Sgt.Gregg Forshaw, 308th Rescue Squadron pararescuemen, 920th Rescue Wing, Patrick Air Force Base, Florida, gets a child to safely to his helicopter August 30, 2017, while flying Hurricane Harvey relief missions with his rescue team in and around Port Arthur, Texas (Courtesy photo)

Reserve Citizen Airmen Staff Sgt.Gregg Forshaw, 308th Rescue Squadron pararescuemen, 920th Rescue Wing, Patrick Air Force Base, Florida, gets a child to safely to his helicopter August 30, 2017, while flying Hurricane Harvey relief missions with his rescue team in and around Port Arthur, Texas (Courtesy photo)

Senior Airman Davy Brinkmann, 920th Rescue Wing, Patrick Air Force Base, Florida, special missions aviations specialist, gets sight on a fellow pararescuemen below as they prepare to hoist two stranded victims of Hurricane Harvey Aug. 31, 2017 from Beaumont, Texas. The 920th RQW deployed roughly 90 Citizen Airmen, three Pave Hawks and two HC-130Ns in support of Air Force Northern’s search and rescue mission for FEMA disaster relief efforts. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Lindsey Maurice)

Senior Airman Davy Brinkmann, 920th Rescue Wing, Patrick Air Force Base, Florida, special missions aviations specialist, gets sight on a fellow pararescuemen below as they prepare to hoist two stranded victims of Hurricane Harvey Aug. 31, 2017 from Beaumont, Texas. The 920th RQW deployed roughly 90 Citizen Airmen, three Pave Hawks and two HC-130Ns in support of Air Force Northern’s search and rescue mission for FEMA disaster relief efforts. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Lindsey Maurice)

Rescue teams from the 920th Rescue Wing, Patrick Air Force Base, Florida, rescue stranded victims trapped by flooding from Hurricane Harvey Aug. 31, 2017 in Beaumont, Texas. The 920th RQW deployed roughly 90 Citizen Airmen, three Pave Hawks and two HC-130Ns in support of Air Force Northern’s search and rescue mission for FEMA disaster relief efforts. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Lindsey Maurice)

Rescue teams from the 920th Rescue Wing, Patrick Air Force Base, Florida, rescue stranded victims trapped by flooding from Hurricane Harvey Aug. 31, 2017 in Beaumont, Texas. The 920th RQW deployed roughly 90 Citizen Airmen, three Pave Hawks and two HC-130Ns in support of Air Force Northern’s search and rescue mission for FEMA disaster relief efforts. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Lindsey Maurice)

Master Sgt. Brandon Daugherty, 920th Rescue Wing pararescueman, keeps a watchful eye for Hurricane Harvey disaster victims while aboard an HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopter Aug. 31, 2017 in Beaumont, Texas. The 920th Rescue Wing, deployed roughly 90 Citizen Airmen, three Pave Hawks and two HC-130Ns in support of Air Force Northern’s search and rescue mission for FEMA disaster relief efforts. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Lindsey Maurice)

Master Sgt. Brandon Daugherty, 920th Rescue Wing pararescueman, keeps a watchful eye for Hurricane Harvey disaster victims while aboard an HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopter Aug. 31, 2017 in Beaumont, Texas. The 920th Rescue Wing, deployed roughly 90 Citizen Airmen, three Pave Hawks and two HC-130Ns in support of Air Force Northern’s search and rescue mission for FEMA disaster relief efforts. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Lindsey Maurice)

Rescue teams from the 920th Rescue Wing, Patrick Air Force Base, Florida, survey the flooded scene below scanning for stranded victims of Hurricane Harvey Aug. 31, 2017 over Beaumont, Texas. The 920th RQW deployed roughly 90 Citizen Airmen, three Pave Hawks and two HC-130Ns in support of Air Force Northern’s search and rescue mission for FEMA disaster relief efforts. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Lindsey Maurice)

Rescue teams from the 920th Rescue Wing, Patrick Air Force Base, Florida, survey the flooded scene below scanning for stranded victims of Hurricane Harvey Aug. 31, 2017 over Beaumont, Texas. The 920th RQW deployed roughly 90 Citizen Airmen, three Pave Hawks and two HC-130Ns in support of Air Force Northern’s search and rescue mission for FEMA disaster relief efforts. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Lindsey Maurice)

PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Reserve Citizen Airman Staff Sgt. Gregg Forshaw, 308th Rescue Squadron pararescueman, and Senior Airman Davy Brinkmann, 301st Rescue Squadron special mission aviator, 920th Rescue Wing, Patrick Air Force Base, Florida, were part of a six-person HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter crew that rescued 84 Hurricane Harvey survivors Aug. 30, around Port Arthur, Texas, after Hurricane Harvey devastated parts of the state.

Forshaw recalls the chaos of the morning – pouring rain, strong wind, dozens of people waving for help, and helicopters all around hoisting people up or readying to rescue stranded Texans.

One rescue that stood out to the team that morning was a family of four whose home was filled with waist-deep water. The grandfather was a double amputee on dialysis sitting in a powered wheelchair in the living room, with a grown daughter, her husband, and a small infant. The crew decided to hoist the father up first to help the others once in the helicopter.

Next, came the mother and baby. With Forshaw’s fellow pararescuemen ascending into the helicopter with mother and baby in the basket, a gust of wind forced the helicopter and hoist to sway briefly hooking the threesome under the roof.

Brinkmann, with his heart pounding in his chest, reacted quickly lowering the hoist and avoiding the worst. They were able to safely load mother and child into the helicopter and send the basket down once more for the grandfather and Forshaw.

Once everyone was safely in the aircraft, they took the family to a nearby hospital. The family was incredibly grateful to the crew.