A local man is being called a real life hero after his rescue efforts after Hurricane Harvey last year and Florence over the weekend. Now, he’s in need of help. While in South Carolina, his truck and equipment were flooded out after a levee broke. It’s a total loss and to make matters worse, he’s now recovering from surgery after having part of his leg amputated due to a medical condition.
David Lay is a small business owner and father of five. He spent several years as a volunteer firefighter and most recently has been a major part of the Cajun Navy’s hurricane relief efforts in Texas and the Carolinas. His giving spirit has many wanting to give back to him and his family.
“I’ve had over a hundred friend requests over the past few days and it was all people that he had met in South Carolina and North Carolina through the Zello App and they’re just all wanting to keep up…just any updates on him and praying for him and saying how many people he helped save,” Lay’s wife, Dana said. “They’re just amazed by him.”
Dana appreciates the showing of support. Owner of Southern Tree Service in Summerdale, David has been fighting diabetes for more than seven years. Prior to heading to Texas and joining up with the Cajun Navy after Hurricane Harvey, he’d developed an ulcer on his foot which became infected by bacteria-laden flood waters.
“By the end of it he was leading a crew of 50 men and ordering supplies and where to go and shuffling people to shelters,” Lay explained.
Since then his condition worsened to the point where surgery was scheduled to amputate his leg from the knee, down. Despite the pending surgery, Lay and two friends were called to action again last weekend to help in rescue efforts after Hurricane Florence. Two days before he left, a pine tree fell on his truck, totaling it. He didn’t let that stop him, loading up an older truck with boats in tow. While trying to get into one of the affected areas, that truck was also totaled by flood waters released by a broken levee.
“His truck, all his chainsaws, trailer, boats…everything flooded,” Lay said. “He got caught in rising waters and it got flooded…washed under.”
Lay finally caught a ride home, arriving only hours before his scheduled surgery on Tuesday, September 18, 2018. Family members are busy building a wheelchair ramp and his wife says David’s ready for the challenges ahead.
“It’s not letting it get him down,” Dana said with a laugh. “Even today at the hospital, he sat up in his hospital bed and we were trying to help him get over into the chair and he’s like, I got it. I’ve got to learn how to do it. I’ve got to learn how to figure it out.”
David Lay and his crew were credited with more than 300 rescues in Texas last year and were leading 50 other volunteers before they left. If you want to help with expenses during his recovery, the family has established a Go Fund Me Page which has already raised nearly a thousand dollars.