HOUSTON – Michael Koutsoukos said one of the most poignant things about Houston after Harvey: “There’s more love than there is water.”
KPRC 2’s Jake Reiner interviewed Koutsoukos last week as he -- like so many others with a boat -- worked on Houston’s flooded streets, rescuing people stranded in the rising waters.
In an interview this week with Koutsoukos, KPRC 2 learned that the rescue experience with Harvey has inspired the Fresno man to change his life, and his vocation.
Koutsoukos, who was recently quoted by former President George W. Bush in an appeal for Harvey disaster relief funds, is now trying to get nonprofit status for his rescue group More Love than Water so he can head toward Florida as Irma closes in.
On his newly created website for his rescue group, Koutsoukos describes his mission: “A passion was discovered while working search and rescue in Hurricane Harvey, and I want to feed that passion and continue those works.”
Koutsoukos has worked in recent years as a contractor and in pressure washing, but Harvey has changed everything.
“I felt fulfilled,” Koutsoukos told KPRC 2 on Thursday. “Some people, you go to a job. People are like, ‘Why the hell am I here?’ (During Harvey) I wasn’t worried about my money. (I was) living in the moment and dealing with things as they come. That’s a job I would work for free.”
Koutsoukos is now planning his trip to Florida to tackle relief efforts after Irma.
“Me and a couple of other guys – the plan will be to stay in Houston, and then shortly after -- within 36 hours -- we’re going to deploy to Florida to the biggest impacted areas,” Koutsoukos said. “(We want to) be useful no matter what.”
In the meantime, Koutsoukos is working on his website, logo, and merchandising to get his nonprofit efforts off the ground. He’s also soliciting for donations to continue his work, writing on his site: ‘Your support and contributions will enable us to meet our goals and improve conditions. Your generous donation will fund our mission. Donations will go toward Houston-based disaster relief nonprofit organizations as well as victims affected by natural disasters.”