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    Texas Firefighter Grateful After Crew Rescues His Family During Flash
    Flood


    BY MITCH MICHELL
    Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Texas
    Posted: Fri, 06/11/2010 - 11:15
    Updated: Fri, 06/11/2010 - 11:36 ..

    For 11 hours this week, Fort Worth firefighter Raymond Forester fought Central Texas floodwaters and
    despair that he might have lost his wife and daughter.

    Forester, his wife, Debbie, and 11-year-old daughter Sydney were swept away from their campsite beside the
    Guadalupe River early Wednesday morning, caught by a storm that dumped 12 inches of rain in the area
    starting Tuesday night.

    Separated in the water, Debbie and Sydney Forester were rescued by firefighters, current and retired, but
    Forester was pulled miles downriver, finally saved by a boater trying to secure his craft in its slip.

    The family was back home in far west Fort Worth on Thursday night.

    "I can't say how much I appreciate all the people along the way that got us to where we are," said Forester, a
    firefighter for 32 years. "Everywhere down the road, God had his hand in this."

    Looking for lifelines

    About 4:30 a.m. Wednesday, he said, the family was in a trailer on the bank of the Guadalupe River near New
    Braunfels.

    "It had been raining all night," he said. "Something bumped us -- it was a picnic table that floated into our
    trailer.

    "I got our family ready because the water was already up to the wheel wells."

    The family tried to walk out, but his wife and daughter got pinned against the truck by debris. After freeing
    them, Forester looked upstream and watched trucks, trailers, ice machines and other debris being swept
    away.

    Then their truck was caught by the current.

    The family got in the bed of the pickup and rode it until it began to sink. Then, Forester kept his family afloat
    by grabbing inner tubes, life vests, empty propane bottles and other debris floating on the river, he said.

    "I found two life vests and put one on Sydney and one on Debbie," Forester said. "I never found one for
    myself. I told Sydney, 'Don't let go of that tube, no matter what.'

    "The first tree hit me, and Sydney and I got separated. But then I got her back, and then the second tree we
    hit, we got separated again.

    "I never saw her again after that. She disappeared in the darkness."

    Three rescues

    Forester later learned that his wife had reached an abandoned store and crawled on top of a counter until
    she saw firefighters -- from New Braunfels, she later learned -- and called out to them.

    Craig Kneuper, 47, a retired firefighter from Colorado, rescued Sydney about five miles downriver. His family
    was moving their belongings upstairs, trying to protect them from the flood, Kneuper said.

    His wife yelled that a child was in the water.

    "I jumped in and grabbed onto her, then struggled to get her onto our deck," he said. "We were swimming
    against the current and getting pummeled by firewood coming from my yard.

    "I was trying to reassure her that we were going to be OK, and that I was not going to let her go. I was
    probably holding her so tight she got a bruise."

    Once Kneuper pulled Sydney from the river, his family evacuated the house. The family called 911 to report
    that Sydney was safe. Sydney got a hot shower and dry clothes at his parents' house, where police reunited
    her with her mother, Kneuper said.

    "The miracle is that her mom and dad were both found safe," Kneuper said. "I'm just happy to have played a
    small role."

    Forester floated on picnic tables, inner tubes and other debris. Finally, after yelling out to several people he
    saw on the river banks, a boy heard him and shouted to his father that a man was in the water, Forester said.
    The man got into his boat and pulled him in, and then dropped him at a friend's house downriver, about 32
    miles from his campsite.

    Forester was taken to a San Antonio hospital and kept overnight for observation. Debbie and Sydney
    Forester had only minor injuries.

    "I've been on breathing treatments for the past two days," Forester said. "I got some water in my left lung. My
    arms, legs and eyes were cut up a little. I lost my truck and my trailer.

    "But it doesn't matter. I didn't lose us. Everything else can all be replaced. We can't replace us."

    McClatchy-Tribune News Service
    From: Crow, Tom
    Sent: Thursday, June 10, 2010 3:09 PM
    To: zz_CFD
    Subject: Firefighter Forester



    Here is the latest news regarding Engineer Forester and his family:

    At approximately 0430 hours on the morning of June 9, 2010, Fort Worth Firefighter Raymond J. Forester
    (RJ) and his family were swept out of their camping area by a flash flood while camping in the Guadalupe
    State Park in New Braunfels, Texas.  Firefighter Forester and his wife, Debbie, and daughter, Sydney, initially
    took refuge in the bed of their pick up, and remained there as it began to drift downriver.  Prior to the pick-up
    sinking, Firefighter Forester was able to grab inner tubes and floatation devices from the surrounding water
    and provide them to his family.

    When the pick-up sank Firefighter Forester and his wife and daughter remained together in the river for a
    time, but were separated by debris and water conditions.  Debbie Forester was able to reach a partially
    flooded structure and was rescued there by the New Braunfels Fire Department.  Sydney Forester was
    rescued approximately 5 miles downriver by a retired firefighter who lived near the Guadalupe River.  
    Firefighter Forester was rescued several hours later by boat, approximately 32 miles from his campsite.  He
    was taken to a San Antonio Hospital and kept overnight for observation.  His injuries were non-life threatening.

    The Forester family was reunited at the hospital following their ordeal.  Debbie and Sydney were not admitted
    to the hospital, having suffered only minor injuries.  

    As of today, June 10, 2010, Firefighter Forester has been released from the hospital and is on his way home
    with his family.
    New Braunfels Couple Rescues Girl Swept Away

    Family Reunited At SA Hospital
    Jessie Degollado, KSAT 12 News Reporter
    POSTED: Thursday, June 10, 2010
    UPDATED: 9:08 pm CDT June 10, 2010                     Watch Jessie Degollado's Report

    NEW BRAUNFELS, Texas -- As Cathi and Craig Kneuper scrambled Wednesday to grab whatever they could
    as the Guadalupe River was quickly overtaking their house, she caught a glimpse through the kitchen window.
    "'Craig, there's someone in the water,'" she said she yelled at her husband. "I saw this bobbing child."

    Sidney Forester, 11, had been swept away by the currents, separated from her parents, RJ and Deborah.
    The family, who had been camping in Hueco Springs about five miles upriver, grabbed life vests and inner
    tubes from passing debris as they were swept along in the back of their pickup truck, until it sank.

    "(As) soon as my wife screamed ... and then I heard another scream, I didn't think twice," said Craig Kneuper,
    a former Colorado firefighter who said he jumped from his deck -- without a life vest -- for his first high-water
    rescue.

    It turns out the father of the girl he saw being swept downriver is a firefighter in Fort Worth.

    Kneuper said he yelled at her over the rushing river and claps of thunder and lightning, to swim as hard as
    she could.

    "Miraculously, she got into an eddy where she was coming to me," he said.

    Grabbing hold of Sidney like a vise, Kneuper said he told her to hang on.

    "'I'm not letting you go,'" he said he told her. "'I'm not leaving you.'"

    Kneuper said he tried to shield her from the floating firewood that pummeled him from behind. With Sidney in
    one arm, he used his other arm to maneuver them away from the corner of the deck where they'd been
    lodged by the swirling eddy.

    "And then it just washed us up onto the deck," said Kneuper. "It was a miracle that night. Everything
    happened just right."

    Yet the family had only minutes to spare. They rushed out with Sidney in their arms and drove to the home of
    Craig Kneuper's parents.

    "She was a wreck," Cathi Kneuper said about the exhausted child who was worried about the fate of her
    parents.

    Out of harm's way, showered and fed, Sidney related how her father knew eventually they would be
    separated, so he tried coaching the girl and her mother on how to survive. She told the Kneupers that her
    father promised her again and again to know that someone would rescue her.

    Overcome at the thought, Cathi Kneuper said, "I'm just thanking God we were here."

    "It was adrenaline, experience and instinct," Craig Kneuper said.

    Sidney was soon reunited with her mother, who only had a cut on her leg. According to a New Braunfels police
    spokesman, Deborah Forester was pulled from the river near Gruene just as the flood's only fatality was
    being recovered.

    The river carried RJ Forester much further, past New Braunfels almost to Seguin, but he survived.

    The Kneuper's pastor, Ripp Hardaway, vicar of St. John's Episcopal Church in New Braunfels, witnessed the
    family's reunion in a San Antonio emergency room, where the father was only suffering the effects of his
    asthma.

    "His eyes lit up and hugged them, and then he just began to sob," said Hardaway.

    Craig Kneuper said hearing that was overwhelming.

    "I feel very connected to that family," he said.

    The couple said the loss of their rental home and belongings pales in comparison to helping save a child's
    life. Theirs was the only riverfront house on Hillcrest Avenue to withstand the flood of 2002. Cathi Kneuper
    said if it had been torn from its foundation like all the rest, there would not have been a kitchen window to see
    what she saw that fateful morning.

    "A little girl would not be with us today," she said.
    Copyright 2010 by KSAT.com All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
      
    Survival story: FW firefighter, family swept away in flood

         by CHRIS HAWES and CASEY NORTON  WFAA
Posted on June 10, 2010 at 9:13 PM
Updated yesterday at 8:22 PM
                                Video


    ALEDO — A Fort Worth firefighter and his family are back home in Aledo after a wild ride on the rain-swollen
    Guadalupe River Wednesday nearly killed them.

    RJ Forester, his wife Debbie and their 11-year-old daughter Sydney  were on vacation when a wall of water
    inundated their campsite and left them stranded — 30 miles apart.

    The last time the Forester family saw each other, they were huddled in a truck bed as flood waters pulled
    them down the river.

    "She was hanging on to the fifth wheel hitch; we're just floating, watching, seeing where the truck's going to
    go," RJ recalled. "It was hard to see in the dark."

    Their eyes, however, made out what seemed like a miracle: a child-size life vest floating by.

    "God put it there; I know He did," Debbie said.

    "We tried to find her [Sydney's] life vest before we went in, but the wind already took it."

    Mom, dad and daughter all stayed together until their truck sank — then the water began to pull them apart.

    "We prayed," Debbie said.

    "When the truck was going down, we prayed," RJ said. "Told everybody how much we loved each other."

    "He dumped out of his tube and I couldn't find him; I didn't see him and I was yelling his name and I never saw
    him," Debbie said. "That's when they got separated."

    RJ began an incredible and torturous 32-mile odyssey down the rampaging river by himself.

    "Part of the way down there, I went through some real bad stuff," RJ said. "I went through some waves about
    20-feet high — leading me up real high and dropping me down."

    Sydney became separated from her parents and was also floating down the swollen river.

    "I knew my dad tried his hardest, but when I left, like I said I was alone," she said.

    RJ Forester was finally pulled out of the water by a boater in Sequin — 32 miles from the family's camp site.

    He didn't know the fate of his wife and daughter.

    Debbie grabbed onto a tree near New Braunfels.

    Sydney went five miles further down river.

    "If they went through this, there's no way they could have made it; if they got this far, I want to drown; I don't
    want to live," RJ said.

    The Guadalupe River was inside the living room of Cathi and Craig Kneuper, but they stopped worrying about
    their own problems when they heard a girl screaming for help.

    "I looked out of our window and I screamed, and I said, 'Oh my God, there's someone in the river!'" Cathi said.

    Craig, who is a retired firefighter from Colorado, said adrenaline and training took over, and he jumped into
    the swirling waters to get Sydney.

    "When I grabbed her, I told I wasn't going to let her go, and I said, 'Hang on, I am not letting you go.'"

    At the time, Craig had no idea he had just saved a fellow firefighter's daughter, but he started making calls,
    looking for her parents.

    Once she calmed down, Sydney logged onto her Facebook account and pleaded with her friends to look for
    her mom and dad — still drifting on the river.

    Finally, hours after they were pulled apart by the forces of nature, they all got the good news.

    "When we talked on the phone, hearing each others' voices... it was so wonderful!" Debbie said.

    It was an excruciating eight hour wait before they could all be together again for a big, long, family hug.

    Debbie Forester said the whole ordeal was frightening, but added that they are thankful for all of their
    rescuers.

    E-mail cnorton@wfaa.com and chawes@wfaa.com

    'We've got to save her!'

    Retired firefighters yank girl out of floodwaters

    Updated: Thursday, 10 Jun 2010, 9:33 AM CDT
    Published : Wednesday, 09 Jun 2010, 5:36 PM CDT
    Jarrod Wise, KXAN staff                                                                        VIDEO

    NEW BRAUNFELS (KXAN) - The inside of Craig and Cathy Kneuper’s home is nothing less than a war zone
    after floods ravaged their home by the Guadalupe .

    But after the two retired firefighters saved a little girl's life from the floods on Wednesday, none of that matters
    to them.

    The Guadalupe River rose almost three feet on the first floor; all their furniture and belongings - destroyed

    "But we're alive. That's all that matters," Cathy said. "Our dog, three cats and our lives. That's what it's all
    about."

    It was early this morning, as the rains poured down, and the river crept up to their back doorsteps, when they
    went to check out the damage and the floods - when they saw the unthinkable.

    "I looked out the back and saw this ... 11-year-old girl," Cathy said. "She was out in the river behind our
    house, and I screamed. 'We've got to save her.' We are retired firefighters."

    Craig didn't hesitate.

    "He jumped in the water, swam out and got her.”

    Said Craig: "I was able to grab her. She was a brave little girl, strong. I screamed at her that she had to swim
    hard. And I swam out to her and got her and just got her back…it happened fast."

    The young girl, who was wearing a life jacket at the time, had been swept downstream from a campground
    nearly 6 miles upstream. She had been in the water for nearly two hours.

    "If she didn’t have a life vest, she wouldn’t have lived," he said. "If I hadn’t seen her then I doubt she would
    have made it because there was just so much debris in the water. I was getting pummeled with firewood
    coming up the eddy hitting me when I had her in my arms."

    The girl's parents were also swept downstream.

    "They stayed in the back of their pickup truck until their truck sunk in the river," Cathy said. "Then the mother
    grabbed on to a tree, and the father and daughter got separated."

    "They just told her to be brave, and to just know that someone would rescue her. And with God’s help, he
    spoke to us and saw her and we rescued her."

    Several other rescues happened. More than 100 calls poured in for rescues and evacuations as the fast-
    moving water caught many campers and residents by surprise.

    But despite the loss of many of the Kneuper’s possessions, they're thankful some more precious valuables
    were saved.

    "I don’t care about anything in my house," Craig said. "That she's OK is all that matters."

    Added his wife: "And you know what? We're OK, too."


Survival story: Firefighter, family swept away in flood

    by CHRIS HAWES and CASEY NORTON / WFAA-TV
    khou.com  Houston TX
    Posted on June 11, 2010 at 10:45 AM
    Updated yesterday at 11:15 AM

    Gallery  See all 6 photos »     VIDEO

    ALEDO, Texas — A Fort Worth firefighter and his family are back home in Aledo after a wild ride on the rain-
    swollen Guadalupe River Wednesday nearly killed them.

    RJ Forester, his wife Debbie and their 11-year-old daughter Sydney  were on vacation when a wall of water
    inundated their campsite and left them stranded — 30 miles apart.

    The last time the Forester family saw each other, they were huddled in a truck bed as flood waters pulled
    them down the river.

    "She was hanging on to the fifth wheel hitch; we're just floating, watching, seeing where the truck's going to
    go," RJ recalled. "It was hard to see in the dark."

    Their eyes, however, made out what seemed like a miracle: a child-size life vest floating by.

    "God put it there; I know He did," Debbie said.

    "We tried to find her [Sydney's] life vest before we went in, but the wind already took it."

    Mom, dad and daughter all stayed together until their truck sank — then the water began to pull them apart.

    "We prayed," Debbie said.

    "When the truck was going down, we prayed," RJ said. "Told everybody how much we loved each other."

    "He dumped out of his tube and I couldn't find him; I didn't see him and I was yelling his name and I never saw
    him," Debbie said. "That's when they got separated."

    RJ began an incredible and torturous 32-mile odyssey down the rampaging river by himself.

    "Part of the way down there, I went through some real bad stuff," RJ said. "I went through some waves about
    20-feet high — leading me up real high and dropping me down."

    Sydney became separated from her parents and was also floating down the swollen river.

    "I knew my dad tried his hardest, but when I left, like I said I was alone," she said.

    RJ Forester was finally pulled out of the water by a boater in Sequin — 32 miles from the family's camp site.

    He didn't know the fate of his wife and daughter.

    Debbie grabbed onto a tree near New Braunfels.

    Sydney went five miles further down river.

    "If they went through this, there's no way they could have made it; if they got this far, I want to drown; I don't
    want to live," RJ said.

    The Guadalupe River was inside the living room of Cathi and Craig Kneuper, but they stopped worrying about
    their own problems when they heard a girl screaming for help.

    "I looked out of our window and I screamed, and I said, 'Oh my God, there's someone in the river!'" Cathi said.

    Craig, who is a retired firefighter from Colorado, said adrenaline and training took over, and he jumped into
    the swirling waters to get Sydney.

    "When I grabbed her, I told I wasn't going to let her go, and I said, 'Hang on, I am not letting you go.'"

    At the time, Craig had no idea he had just saved a fellow firefighter's daughter, but he started making calls,
    looking for her parents.

    Once she calmed down, Sydney logged onto her Facebook account and pleaded with her friends to look for
    her mom and dad — still drifting on the river.

    Finally, hours after they were pulled apart by the forces of nature, they all got the good news.

    "When we talked on the phone, hearing each others' voices... it was so wonderful!" Debbie said.

    It was an excruciating eight hour wait before they could all be together again for a big, long, family hug.

    Debbie Forester said the whole ordeal was frightening, but added that they are thankful for all of their
    rescuers.

    E-mail cnorton@wfaa.com and chawes@wfaa.com

    Fort Worth firefighter grateful after family survives flash flood

    By MITCH MITCHELL
    mitchmitchell@star-telegram.com

    For 11 hours this week, Fort Worth firefighter Raymond Forester fought Central Texas floodwaters and
    despair that he might have lost his wife and daughter.

    Forester, his wife, Debbie, and 11-year-old daughter Sydney were swept away from their campsite beside the
    Guadalupe River early Wednesday morning, caught by a storm that dumped 12 inches of rain in the area
    starting Tuesday night.

    Separated in the water, Debbie and Sydney Forester were rescued by firefighters, current and retired, but
    Forester was pulled miles downriver, finally saved by a boater trying to secure his craft in its slip.

    The family was back home in far west Fort Worth on Thursday night.

    "I can't say how much I appreciate all the people along the way that got us to where we are," said Forester, a
    firefighter for 32 years. "Everywhere down the road, God had his hand in this."

    Looking for lifelines

    About 4:30 a.m. Wednesday, he said, the family was in a trailer on the bank of the Guadalupe River near New
    Braunfels.

    "It had been raining all night," he said. "Something bumped us -- it was a picnic table that floated into our
    trailer.

    "I got our family ready because the water was already up to the wheel wells."

    The family tried to walk out, but his wife and daughter got pinned against the truck by debris. After freeing
    them, Forester looked upstream and watched trucks, trailers, ice machines and other debris being swept
    away.

    Then their truck was caught by the current.

    The family got in the bed of the pickup and rode it until it began to sink. Then, Forester kept his family afloat
    by grabbing inner tubes, life vests, empty propane bottles and other debris floating on the river, he said.

    "I found two life vests and put one on Sydney and one on Debbie," Forester said. "I never found one for
    myself. I told Sydney, 'Don't let go of that tube, no matter what.'

    "The first tree hit me, and Sydney and I got separated. But then I got her back, and then the second tree we
    hit, we got separated again.

    "I never saw her again after that. She disappeared in the darkness."

    Three rescues

    Forester later learned that his wife had reached an abandoned store and crawled on top of a counter until
    she saw firefighters -- from New Braunfels, she later learned -- and called out to them.

    Craig Kneuper, 47, a retired firefighter from Colorado, rescued Sydney about five miles downriver. His family
    was moving their belongings upstairs, trying to protect them from the flood, Kneuper said.

    His wife yelled that a child was in the water.

    "I jumped in and grabbed onto her, then struggled to get her onto our deck," he said. "We were swimming
    against the current and getting pummeled by firewood coming from my yard.

    "I was trying to reassure her that we were going to be OK, and that I was not going to let her go. I was
    probably holding her so tight she got a bruise."

    Once Kneuper pulled Sydney from the river, his family evacuated the house. The family called 911 to report
    that Sydney was safe. Sydney got a hot shower and dry clothes at his parents' house, where police reunited
    her with her mother, Kneuper said.

    "The miracle is that her mom and dad were both found safe," Kneuper said. "I'm just happy to have played a
    small role."

    Forester floated on picnic tables, inner tubes and other debris. Finally, after yelling out to several people he
    saw on the river banks, a boy heard him and shouted to his father that a man was in the water, Forester said.
    The man got into his boat and pulled him in, and then dropped him at a friend's house downriver, about 32
    miles from his campsite.

    Forester was taken to a San Antonio hospital and kept overnight for observation. Debbie and Sydney
    Forester had only minor injuries.

    "I've been on breathing treatments for the past two days," Forester said. "I got some water in my left lung. My
    arms, legs and eyes were cut up a little. I lost my truck and my trailer.

    "But it doesn't matter. I didn't lose us. Everything else can all be replaced. We can't replace us."


    Family reunited after being swept down flooded river

    Posted: Saturday, June 12, 2010 8:29 pm | Updated: 8:28 pm, Sat Jun 12, 2010.
    By Autumn Phillips New Braunfels The Herald-Zeitung | 2 comments

    The Forester family had enough time to hold hands and pray before their truck sank into the raging river
    below them.

    “We prayed that God would help us through this,” said R.J. Forester. He held the hands of his wife, Debbie,
    and his 11-year-old daughter, Sydney.

    The bed of their 3/4 ton Chevrolet pickup was filling with water — fast. The family knew they didn’t have much
    time.

    R.J., a firefighter from Fort Worth, reached out into the water and grabbed passing tubes and life vests and
    handed them to his family.

    “We said our ‘I love yous’. We said, ‘Be strong’ and ‘I’ll catch you down river’,” R.J. said.

    Then the truck went under and the full force of the rising flood took hold of them.

    Wake up call

    The Foresters were sleeping in their fifth-wheel trailer at Camp Hueco Springs early Wednesday morning
    when R.J. was awakened by something bumping the camper.

    He opened the door and saw that it was a picnic table pushed into the camper by rising water.

    He told his family to dress and leave everything behind.

    “The water was waist-high on Debbie,” he said. They climbed in the back of the pickup just as the water
    carried their trailer away.

    The campground’s ice machine came floating by, bumped the truck and pushed it into the current.

    “I told Sydney, hang on to the hitch. Don’t let go,” R.J. said. “Things were passing us left and right — a
    Dumpster, cars, trucks, RVs. I didn’t know how long my truck would stay afloat.”

    He grabbed life vests, tubes, an empty propane bottle.

    When the truck sank, he held onto Sydney at first, but the two hit a tree and they were separated.

    “My wife told me she saw Sydney get knocked off and then get back in her tube and that was the last she saw
    of her,” he said.

    Rescuing Sydney

    Craig Kneuper and his wife, Cathi, were at their home on Hillcrest Drive scrambling to move their belongings
    away from the rising water when Cathi spotted someone in the water wearing a life preserver.

    Craig Kneuper is a retired firefighter — three years in Frisco, Colo., And seven years in Copper Mountain,
    Colo. His years of training helped him to act quickly.

    “I ran out on the deck and yelled to (Sydney) to swim as hard as she could,” Craig said.

    He dove into the water and pulled Sydney to shore.

    “It was a struggle to hold onto her,” he said. “We were being hit by all this wood and debris in the water.”

    Sydney, he said, had been in the water for two hours.

    “She was exhausted,” he said.

    Since his home was flooded, he took Sydney across town to his parent’s house and notified the authorities.

    “She was in shock,” Kneuper said. “She was communicating and lucid and extremely friendly and polite.”

    Debbie rescued

    When Debbie Forester made it to shore, she thought the worst was over, but her ordeal had just begun.

    The water was still rising. She climbed on the deck of a nearby store and broke in, thinking she would be safe
    inside.

    But the water rose and started to fill the store (R.J. referred to it as “Tom’s store,” but did not know the
    name.). She climbed on the counter, but the water kept rising to her waist.

    She thought she was going to drown in that store, but the water suddenly stopped rising.

    “It started going down,” R.J. said. Debbie screamed for help.

    Rescuers from the New Braunfels Fire Department were outside.

    30-mile journey

    Meanwhile, the water wouldn’t let go of R.J. Forester.

    “I just kept going,” he said. “I grabbed onto an ice chest, then a passing boat. Anything I could reach to keep
    me above water.

    “I could see fire trucks on the shore. I could see people, but no one could get me a rope. I don’t know how fast
    the water was going. I’d guess 50 miles an hour.

    “I shouted my name and where I was from.”

    R.J. said waves were rising 20 feet high — lifting him in the air and dropping him.

    “That’s when I thought I was going to drown,” he said. “The water finally kicked me up and I saw two water
    moccasins. We looked at each other.

    “They didn’t make a move for me. I didn’t make a move for them. They were just trying to survive like me.”

    He felt himself go over a dam (the Lake Dunlap dam) and was near Zipp Road before someone was finally
    able to reach him.

    A man R.J. only knows as “Chuck” got into his boat and came to the rescue.

    “He’s the hero in this story,” R.J. said. “He risked his life to save me.

    “I heard him come up behind me. He pushed me to an eddy and said, ‘Stay in there, I’ll come back.’

    “He got the boat turned around and pulled me in. I just laid down there, face down in the boat. He kept talking
    to me, but his motor was overheating from going against the current. I didn’t think we were going to make it.”

    Electricity was out on Zipp Road, but Bob Shaw let R.J. take a shower with the hot water left in their home’s
    tank, he said.

    “I was purple,” he said. “I sat there in the shower for 30 minutes until the pink came back to my skin.

    “I borrowed some of Bob’s clothes. And the sheriff came.

    “He asked me where I came from. When I said Hueco Springs, he asked if I was sure. He said, ‘That’s 30 miles
    up river.’”

    The reunion

    Authorities brought Debbie Forester to the Kneuper’s home to be with her daughter, Sydney.

    Father Ripp Hardaway from St. John’s Episcopal Church heard the Kneuper’s home was damaged by the
    flood and he was on hand to see what he and other church members could do to help.

    R.J. Forester had been transported to Northeast Methodist Hospital for treatment. When Hardaway arrived,
    Debbie was on the phone talking to R.J.

    Hardaway offered to take her to the hospital to be reunited with her husband.

    “I walked them into the ER and watched them hug one another,” Hardaway said. “The father, he really was
    very emotional. You could see the sense of relief in his face the moment his saw his wife and daughter, to
    know they were safe.”

    Before Hardaway left, he said to the family, “I’m going to hug you. I know I don’t know you, but I’m standing in
    the presence of an actual miracle.”

    Back home

    The Foresters returned home to Fort Worth on Thursday.

    R.J. has a few cuts and bruises, and a bad cut on his retina from a tree branch, but he is otherwise unharmed.

    He and Debbie still haven’t been able to sleep.

    “We fall asleep and we’re fighting the water,” he said. “Sydney’s OK. I don’t think she realizes how much
    danger she was in.

    “We’re OK thanks to the grace of God and the power of prayer,” he said. “God sent us those life vests and
    those people to rescue us. There’s no other way it could have happened.”
    89 rescued from floodwaters Wednesday

    Posted: Wednesday, June 9, 2010 7:40 pm
    0 comments

    Firefighters responded to 89 calls for rescue between 4 a.m. and 11 a.m. Wednesday morning with some
    residents trapped in trees and others in their homes.

    "The flooding did come up very rapidly," said New Braunfels Fire Chief John Robinson. "But the city was
    following the rains, so was it a complete surprise? Absolutely not."
    Rescue operations saved multiple people along the Guadalupe and Comal rivers during flooding Wednesday,
    including a family washed down river.

    New Braunfels firefighters received about 100 calls for medical services, Robinson said.
    As of Wednesday afternoon, fire, police nor sheriff's office officials confirmed that there were any missing
    persons, but did not rule out the possibility.

    "We have some conflicting information from residents calling in, so we're trying to match that info up with our
    reports," Robinson said.

    Firefighters rescued a woman in her 40s before noon near the Summerwood subdivision off Outer Loop 337
    from the Guadalupe River , said Battalion Chief Darren Brinkkoeter.
    Police confirmed that a resident rescued an 11-year-old girl from the Guadalupe River and emergency
    workers found the girl's parents downstream closer to Interstate 35.
    It was unclear before press time if the woman rescued along the Summerwood subdivision was the mother of
    the 11 year old girl, Brinkkoeter said.

    New Braunfels Fire worked in tandem with the San Antonio and San Marcos fire departments as well as the
    Texas Department of Public Safety, which had three helicopters working in the county, including a resident
    stuck in a tree behind above the Guadalupe River behind Schobels Restaurant, said Texas Department of
    Public Safety Trooper Jason Reyes.

    DPS did not have a complete list of people evacuated before press time, but Reyes estimated the department
    rescued about six people.

    In addition, Texas A&M University 's engineering service sent seven swift water rescue teams with the Texas
    Task Force 1 to central Texas to respond to the flooding.
 
LAURA McKENZIE/Herald-Zeitung
Craig Kneuper points Friday to the spot where
11-year-old Sydney Forester was seen being carried
down the Guadalupe River during Wednesday's
flood. Kneuper, a retired firefighter, was able to
rescue the girl from the water.
Raymond Forester, his wife Debbie and daughter Sydney
were camped along the Guadalupe River this week when
floodwaters carried them away.