79 Fox rescue three stranded Lake Houston boaters, earning two sergeants involved HPOU monthly honor

Editorial Staff
Air and Marine Commander Elizabeth Lorenzana and Lt. Randy Upton, right, present Patrol Officers of the Month honor to Sgt. Chris Chebret. Sgt. Mike Burton could not be present. Photo by Gary Hicks

Last June when the water got too high on Lake Houston and a rescue was needed, the time came to call 79 Fox.

Here’s an account of the events that eventually led to the November general membership meeting when HPOU honored Sgt. Chris Chebret, the pilot, and Sgt. Mike Burton, the TFO, were honored as the Union’s Patrol Officers of the Month.

Both of these sergeants were in the air until they dutifully found the right amount of land to rescue a stranded family of boaters.

Lt. Randy Upton of the Air and Marine Division, provided the details, that proved to be one of a number of Fox rescues last summer and during Tropical Storm Imelda.

In late June at about 9:20 p.m. the Lake Patrol Division contacted Fox concerning three stranded boaters on Lake Houston. The three were stranded on a sandbar

in a cove. Lake Patrol was unable to reach them due to shallow water despite every possible effort.

Chebret and Burton launched their helicopter and made contact with Lake Patrol officers.

“The officers,” Upton explained, “advised that they could not see the stranded boaters but were on the cell phone with them.

Sgt. Chebret and Sgt. Burton observed a small island that separated the stranded boaters from the lake officers. They observed that the boaters were about 100 yards from a small beach on the island.

“They instructed the lake patrol officers to tell the boaters to put on their life vests and walk across the shallow water to the island with the help of the helicopter spotlight guiding them.

“Once they made it to shore Sgt. Chebret landed the helicopter in a small beach area. Sgt. Burton loaded each citizen one by one and flew them to the lake patrol office where they were received by lake patrol officers.”

Air and Marine Commander Elizabeth Lorenzana joined Lt. Upton in praising the Fox crew with Upton saying, “This entire rescue was performed on a high wind and dark night. Sgt. Chebret’s professionalism and pilot skills were very effective in completing this rescue. And it couldn’t have been completed without the professional work of Sgt. Burton.”