In the tragedy of floods from Hurricane Harvey, people from all over the region emerged to rescue others from flooded homes and to provide safety and a hot meal. As survivors flooded social media with posts about the amazing volunteers who were carrying the city forward, one man in particular got a bit of attention.
As Raz Halili snapped selfies of his rescue efforts, the photos started to go viral, accompanied by the tag #RescueBae.
On Aug. 30, Halili and his cousin Gezim took a boat and jet ski out into the floodwaters to rescue stranded storm survivors, traveling to Texas cities Port Arthur, Dickinson and Friendswood to help people in need.
While many assumed that he was with the Cajun Navy -- a grassroots group of volunteers that assists with hurricane rescue, according to CNN -- Halili is actually from Kemah, Texas. Since he runs his family’s oyster business, Prestige Oysters in San Leon, Texas, he knows his way around a boat.
The son of an Albanian immigrant, Halili said he acted out of thanks for the life his family has found in America.
KTRK reported that Port Arthur, Texas, resident Ariel Davis was one of the women who helped make Halili’s photos go viral. She said that when she first saw a photo, sent to her by a friend, she knew she needed to see more.
“One of my friends was letting me know that she got rescued from a fine Cajun Navy guy,” Davis said. “She said she has a picture of him,” I said, ‘Girl. You have to send me the picture.’”
Since taking his boat into the floodwaters, Halili has found himself labeled both a hero and a heartthrob.