In spite of record rainfall, 98-year-old Mae Amburgey refused to leave the place she’s called home for the past 73 years.
VIDEOS BY INSPIRE MORE
Mae insisted that her ranch home in Whitesburg, Kentucky had never flooded before, aside from a little water in the basement, but this time was different. Heavy rains combined with a summer-long drought resulted in flash flooding across most of Eastern Kentucky. Mae and two of her relatives suddenly found themselves surrounded by water, trapped inside a rapidly-flooding house.
Mae, her son Larry Amburgey, and her grandson Gregory Amburgey stayed in the house as water rose higher and higher throughout the night. By the next morning, the situation had grown dire. Gregory snapped a picture of his grandmother sitting on her bed with dirty flood water all around her and sent it to their family members.
Missy Amburgey Crovetti is Gregory’s sister. She lives in Green Oaks, Illinois, and the photo of Mae broke her heart the instant she saw it.
“Just seeing this 98-year-old, almost 99-year-old woman sitting in the chaos and looking so helpless,” she said.
The photo went viral, and Mae unwittingly became the face of the historic 2022 Kentucky floods.
Around 9 a.m., Gregory and Larry started calling for help. There were emergency boats nearby, but they couldn’t get to them without crossing a large portion of floodwater with a powerful current. Larry is in his 70s and Mae is almost 100, and Gregory couldn’t help them escape on his own. Thankfully, a mysterious stranger entered the scene just in time.
Randy Polly was driving by their house when he became stranded by floodwaters. As he waited for hours until help arrived, he witnessed an incredible act of bravery and compassion.
A total stranger heard the Amburgey family’s cries for help and swam towards the submerged house. He banged on the door and window then helped each person get out. The three men helped Mae onto a raft and swam against the tough current to safety.
No one knows who the man was, and he disappeared before anyone could thank him. Now, the family is trying to pick up the pieces so Mae can go back to one of the only homes she’s ever known.
“She has lived in that house for 73 years,” Missy said. “The truth of the matter is it’s never going to be the same.”
Both Mae and Larry had to spend time in the hospital to recover from their injuries. Larry was on a ventilator for 24-hours due to water inhalation, and Mae was treated with antibiotics due to a cut on her leg. The elderly lady was also diagnosed with pneumonia a few days later.
Missy has set up a GoFundMe to help the family recover.
That photo of Mae is utterly heartbreaking, but we’re so glad someone came to save the day! We may never know who that stranger was, but we hope his good deed comes back to him in some way.
Share Mae’s story to thank the unsung heroes of the world.
Want to be happier in just 5 minutes a day? Sign up for Morning Smile and join over 455,000+ people who start each day with good news.