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Valley Volunteers Return from Aiding Disaster Areas

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WESLACO – Five volunteers are back in the Rio Grande Valley, after spending the better part of a week aboard boats, rescuing victims of Hurricane Harvey.

"You rescue some people and they were smiling, and wanted to take pictures," said Joe Swoboda, a volunteer from Edinburg. "You rescue others and they were crying and they didn't want to leave their home."

Swoboda said the group left Sunday, and returned Wednesday. They went from town to town, looking for families to rescue.

It included a school, where families were holed up, said Swoboda.

"It was just loaded with kids and families. Like 200 families."

The group faced dangers as well. Ismael "smiley" Yanez, a volunteer and Arroyo City fishing guide, said inundated homes carried electricity.

"(I was) looking at a transformer and it blew up," he said. "That scared me."

There wasn't much time to think about danger, the volunteers agreed.

"The whole time I was there I only thought about dropping somebody off and getting somebody else," said Swoboda.

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