Atlanta man drives 89-year-old Rockport man 1,000 miles back home after Harvey

‘I owe him an awful lot, because I never would have made it back home'

ROCKPORT, Texas – As some along the Texas coast go through the challenge time of rebuilding their community, an 89-year-old Rockport man found a forever friendship during his time in Atlanta, Georgia, as he was staying with family to escape Hurricane Harvey.

“I owe him an awful lot, because I would never have made it back home (without him),” Burt Haney, 89, said of his new friend. 

“He owes me nothing. You owe nothing,” Brannon Walton, Haney's new friend. 

Haney left his home and possessions behind in Rockport as Harvey approached the small town as a major Category 4 hurricane.

Not knowing what’s left of his home, Haney thought he’d never get the chance to assess the damage caused by Harvey, but thanks to a stranger from Atlanta, he was able to make it back.

“I took it upon myself me and my wife to just house a few people from the area, and we're just here bringing them back now, so we're here to help out as much as we can,” Walton said.

When Haney returned, his home wasn’t as he left it, with shattered windows and damage everywhere, but for the longtime resident, he’s counting his blessings, because his neighbors suffered far more damage than he did.

However, one of the enemies Haney will have to battle is the mold that is building up along his guest bedroom’s walls, ceiling and even on the bed.

Haney said he’s optimistic he will be able to fix up his home, but the one thing he’s looking forward to is continuing his friendship with Walton.

“If I feel like I can do something I'm gonna do it,” Walton said.

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About the Authors:

Max Massey is the GMSA weekend anchor and a general assignments reporter. Max has been live at some of the biggest national stories out of Texas in recent years, including the Sutherland Springs shooting, Hurricane Harvey and the manhunt for the Austin bomber. Outside of work, Max follows politics and sports, especially Penn State, his alma mater.