Editor's note: When The Advocate put out the call for heroes of the Cajun Navy, more than 175 of you responded with stories of unbelievable bravery. In addition to praise for courageous first responders, there were many, many stories of uncommon valor by ordinary men and women, who helped save others with no thought to their own personal safety. There is no doubt, all are true heroes. This week, The Advocate is spotlighting those who will be honored at the Red Stick Together concert on Sunday, Sept. 25, in downtown Baton Rouge.
Keith Silvio, of Baton Rouge, wrote this about Jere Delaune
"We woke up just about the time water starting rolling in our front door. By the time we left 30 minutes later to take shelter on our neighbors porch with several other families, the water was up to our thighs and rushing.
"An old friend from high school, Cody Coston, came through on a boat and fished our family and others off the porch to make our first leg of the trip. Once on higher ground, we quickly realized that the water was continuing to rise.
"That's when Jere showed up and began to move folks four to five at a time to safety. He was from Brusly, and totally uninvolved in the situation. He only wanted to do what he could to help. After moving my family to safety, I stayed with him while he continued to make trips for 10 hours straight, not taking his boat out until well after dark.
"The most amazing moment was when a National Guard truck was being used to move people down Greenwell Springs Road, but the water was rushing and up to the bottoms of the doors. As the truck pulled onto the road to make its way toward safety, it lost track of the roadway and slipped off onto the shoulder.
"The whole truck listed and the 20 or so men, woman and children in the back with no life vests were panicking. Jere quickly brought his boat along side of the truck and pulled as many as we could hold, including two National Guardsmen, in the truck. All occupants made it to safety, and the truck remained there, inoperable.
"Jere was among many who did a selfless thing and helped my family and many others. I'd estimate he moved 200 people of all walks of life that day to safety, including many in wheelchairs, elderly and children.
"He's a great example of what we stand for in Louisiana."