AUSTIN -- It was early Halloween morning, and the flood water around Christian and Alejandro “Hondo” Martinez’s home was rising.
As they fled their house, they grabbed a fishing boat from the backyard.
“We come out of the house, and hear 'Hey where are y'all going with that boat?' because we had recently gotten a boat out, and he says, 'Hey where are y'all going with that boat? I got kids and they can't swim,’” recalled Christian.
The 17-year-old, his brother Hondo and their dad Raymond put the children in their fishing boat and pulled them to dry ground.
That was the first rescue the boys and their father would make with their fishing boat. As the water kept rising they realized more people needed help, so they went back for their canoe.
“My dad and I had to pull it up the deck, but by then part of the deck was getting swept away, and I literally fell five feet through the bottom of the deck,” said Christian, who hurt his knee.
Using both their canoe and fishing boat, the three men along with another neighbor started rescuing people up and down their street.
They would load people into the boats or carry them into the boat if they couldn’t walk. They would then pull the boats by hand to safer ground.
The rescues went on for more than three hours. Overall the Martinez family saved 35 to 40 people.
“Our safety wasn't important compared to theirs,” said Hondo, who is only 14 years old.
Weeks later, standing in their flood-damaged home, the Martinez boys proudly hold plaques from the Austin Police Department.
“It’s recognition of what we did in the flood in October by the chief, Art Acevedo,” said Hondo.
For now there's no wall to hang them on, only tarps, as the Martinez family tries to rebuild.