A Missouri City firefighter was on duty rescuing people from flooded homes, while his own wife and twin toddlers were being rescued.
It's hard to understand what it means for this family to be together, until you know how they weathered the strongest storm of their life apart.
"It was terrifying, I didn't know if I was going to be able to keep my babies safe,” said Ashley McLaurin.
She and her husband Chris McLaurin, a Missouri City firefighter, have 16-month-old twins. The toddlers rode out Hurricane Harvey with their mom in their Kingwood apartment.
"I was getting ready to be deployed out onto a dump truck to drive through high water,” said Chris.
"My husband feels that it is his job to protect his family, he wasn't there to be able to protect his family because he was serving his city and saving other people," said Ashley.
And save people he did, in Missouri City, first responders made 1,300 rescues.
"It was going pretty hard, between the tornadoes and the flooding,” said Chris.
However, McLaurin never imagined his family would need to be rescued too.
"It was about 10 o'clock at night that I heard they were releasing Lake Conroe and I knew it was going to flood but I did not have any idea it would be to the extent that it flooded," said Ashley.
The next morning, she couldn't drive out. Water was creeping in to their home when a rescue boat came.
"I wore both babies in baby carriers, I had one on my front and one on my back, I had an umbrella, but we were soaking wet," said Ashley.
"When you're there you have a task, a job… when I came back and it was my neighborhood that was flooded and my family that was displaced... it really hit home,” said Chris.
The pictures taken inside their home are hard to put into words, they lost everything.
"It's not really the things, the things can be replaced, but it's our home, it's our place where we felt safe," said Ashley.
At a family member's home where they're staying nearby, they have what matters most: each other.
"We are so, so overwhelmed by everyone's love. People we don't even know are donating their own kids' things to our kids that don't have anything now,” said Ashley.
They'll start over together, thankful for surviving a storm that put life in perspective.
"That is something I say everyday, this has changed us as a whole and as individuals. We are way more grateful for everything,” said Ashley.
McLaurin is just one of 30 Missouri City employees affected by Harvey. The city council set up a GoFundMe page for citizens to help first responders get back on their feet.
The McLaurin Family is also receiving support from friends and strangers across the country, through their GoFundMe page.
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