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“Really proud of him:” Oostburg native helps rescue Harvey victims using his Jeep

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Brett Harmeling

TEXAS -- Dozens of people are alive thanks to one Wisconsinite's bravery in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.

Brett Harmeling says that when he woke up on Saturday to the sounds of sirens going off, he jumped into action. More specifically, into the driver seat of his 2015 Jeep Wrangler. With nothing more than the car and the courage to make a difference, he rescued 56 people.

Brett Harmeling rescue

"I created such awareness on social media about my experiences just so that people could understand that we needed help.," said Brett Harmeling.

Brett Harmeling

Taking to Facebook to ask people if they needed help, people all over started calling him. Brett used his Jeep to traverse treacherous waters to help trapped people and get them to safety.

"All across the country, 'hey my mom's in the attic of this location can you save her?' Things like that," Brett said. "'My friend's on a roof can you save them?"

Brett Harmeling rescue

Brett Harmeling rescue

Word of Brett's rescues not only spread across Houston and the Texas area, but coast to coast here in the United States. Even locally in Oostburg, Wisconsin.

"We're really proud of him and we're happy that he could communicate what was going on," said Rita Harmeling, Brett's mother.

Brett says by posting updates over Facebook and encouraging people to call his cellphone if they need help, made it possible for him to help people.

Photos posted to Brett's page document his rescues.

Brett Harmeling rescue

"I would love to be of service, and hold space, and create the awareness about how important it is to give the tools, you know, how to give back to the world," Brett said.

Of those 56 rescues, one of those people passed away as a result of their injuries. Brett says he will continue to rescue people as long as they need his help, but his car is taking a beating. He's set up a GoFundMe page where people can help him pay for the upkeep costs, and direct money to groups on the ground who need it. He's taken on thousands of dollars in damage to his car, and he'd appreciate all the help he can get.