Perry County man helps save family from flooding river - WSMV News 4

Perry County man helps save family from flooding river

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A homeless family found themselves overcome by rising waters on the Buffalo River. (WSMV) A homeless family found themselves overcome by rising waters on the Buffalo River. (WSMV)
LOBELVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

A Perry County man was in the right place at the right time as torrential rains flooded the Buffalo River on Friday.

His quick response helped save the lives of a homeless family who found themselves overcome by the rising waters.

"Joe Joe" Calvert is a groundskeeper for a nearby golf course. He was just getting his day started when he heard a woman scream for help.

“I just decided to get on the four-wheeler and ride back here,” Calvert said.

Calvert said a family of three live in a camper on the property behind the golf course where he works.

“It was flooded through here, and they couldn't get their vehicle out to go grocery shopping. So they were coming across (the river) before it could get any worse. They were using a rope to pull their boat back and forth,” Calvert explained.

The family was trying to cross the flooded Buffalo River and ended up flipping their canoe. Calvert described what he saw when he got to the edge of the river.

“All three of them, the man, the woman and the kid (were in the water). The man made it over to get the rope to throw out there to try and help them. And the kid, his foot was wrapped up it seemed like around a rope, and the boat was pushing him under where he couldn't breathe,” he said.

Calvert started to get in the water to help, but knew it was too dangerous.

“I tried to get here and get down on this rope here. I got to this second one and it sounded like it was about to snap on us,” he said. “I didn't want them to lose the boat and what they were holding on to.”

He called 911. The Perry County Rescue Squad arrived 15 minutes later.

The rescue squad was quick to say Calvert did the right thing not trying to jump in the water to help the family.

The family was unavailable for comment on Monday.

Calvert had just celebrated his 27th birthday on Friday when all this took place.

When asked if he has any advice for people thinking about trying to cross a flooded river, he simply said, “Don't do it.”

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