James Randall “Randy” Martin may have lost his home, but is grateful to be alive. On the night of Saturday, May 23, Randy went to bed early, never thinking about the situation about to unfold.
When he awoke a few hours later, he got out of bed and felt water on the floor. Randy initially thought that he may have a plumbing problem, but as he walked throughout the house, he knew that something wasn’t right. He then went back into his bedroom and reached for a flashlight. As he pointed it out the window, Randy could see the river going by.
Originally from San Antonio, Randy now hangs his hat in Wimberley, Texas. Nestled among the many trees of the Texas Hill Country, his home wasn’t too far from the Blanco River. He had seen the river rise many times before, but never to this extent.
As he began to realize the seriousness of the emergency, he grabbed his cell phone and called his partner Pegi Eckert. As a labor and delivery nurse, Pegi was working an overnight shift at a local hospital and couldn’t leave. She told him to call 911 immediately. Between the time he had woken up and called Pegi, the water had already risen to his knees.
As the water rose to his chest, Randy held onto a mattress and bookshelf floating inside his bedroom. He was on the phone with a friend when he urged them to come quickly. He said, “They better hurry or they aren’t going to find anybody.”
When he lost his balance and submerged underwater, it took his phone and left him with no one to talk to, but not long after that, he saw the light from a rescue boat. He started to shine his flashlight towards them, but they kept going.
“I thought that they had missed me. They don’t know where I am. They’re going to go look for someone else. I thought that was my last chance,” said Randy.
But the boat returned and as they pulled him from his window, Randy thought he had never been so happy to see someone else in his entire life. A euphoria struck him as he was being carried away, knowing that he was finally safe.
Almost a week later, Randy and Pegi find themselves in a Multi-Agency Resource Center, located at the Wimberley Community Center where the American Red Cross has pulled in volunteers from across the state and country, ready to help residents such as them.
They know the recovery process is going to be a long road ahead of them, but welcome the efforts made by our volunteers.
“We love you. You’re wonderful. You’re angels walking on Earth,” said Pegi.