The nursing home at Lake Arthur Place was in rough shape when rescuers arrived. The hallways smelled of feces. There was an old woman trembling in a wheelchair. Her feet were dangling in almost a foot of floodwater.
Harvey, then a tropical storm, was already affecting Port Arthur, a coastal refinery city in Texas.
Ben Husser, 45, had arrived along with other members of the “Cajun Navy,” a group of military veterans and fishermen, to help rescue locals.
“What’s going on here?” Husser asked a nurse. “Why is she shaking? Is she cold?”
Husser found Jeff Rosetta, the nursing home’s administrator. Despite Husser’s offer of a ride out on several empty boats waiting outside, Rosetta refused.
“You don’t understand, I can’t give these people to you,” Rosetta said, according to Husser’s account. “I can only give them to the National Guard.”
Rosetta then ordered Husser to leave. Husser refused. The discussion came to blows, and Husser drew a gun.
“I had to do what I had to do,” Husser said later. “We had to beat the crap out of Jeff — at least, I did.”
Two Port Arthur police officers arrived at the facility and determined the place should be evacuated.