There's nothing Lauren LeBlanc wouldn't do for her nanny.
Sunday morning, the Plano resident got word that her 83-year-old grandmother, Nancy Shoemaker, was in dire straits at her flooded southeast Houston townhome.
Nanny’s home had taken on several inches of water. She’d lost power. Her electric oxygen concentrator had been submerged in water and no longer worked. Her nanny suffers from pulmonary fibrosis. She depends on oxygen.
She had about 12 hours of oxygen left as of 10 a.m. Sunday. LeBlanc grew more frantic with every hour that passed.
Still, the retired librarian and pre-school teacher remained in good spirits.
“She's sitting on her wet front porch, chatting with her neighbors and acting like she doesn't have a care in the world, which is both frustrating and adorable,” LeBlanc posted on Facebook.
Leblanc turned her office into a command center, turning to social media and burning up the phone lines. She called the Coast Guard, the police, fire departments, the office of emergency management and even sought help from a friend of a friend with a boat.
“I couldn’t sleep,” says LeBlanc, a seventh-generation Houston native. “I was up all night.”
Sunday afternoon, she posted that the friend wasn’t able to reach Nanny in a boat.
The office of emergency management told her nanny was listed as an “urgent case” but it could take up to 24 hours to get to her. A Coast Guard official call and said they were trying to get to nanny.
“I don’t doubt they tried,” she said.
By Monday morning, the waters had receded from nanny’s home. The electricity was back on, but her oxygen was almost out.
She was desperate. She reached out via Facebook message to WFAA's Sonia Azad, a high school classmate.
“I contacted her because I knew she would know someone,” she says.
Azad contacted WFAA's David Goins. He was 10 minutes away from nanny.
“Everything was a dead end or a busy signal,” LeBlanc says. “So when I got David on the phone, I said, ‘No pressure but you're the last hope. She’s on her last tank. I don't know who else to call.’”
Goins flagged down Houston police officers who accompanied him to nanny’s house. Nanny was good spirits as she rode off with Houston police officers.
“I feel wonderful,” she said, laughing. “I'm so happy. I was so worried. When you get out of air and start gasping, it’s bad.”
She was all smiles in the picture she sent to her granddaughter with her newfound friend, Houston paramedic.
Nanny was thankful to the granddaughter who didn’t give up.
“I said, ‘Lauren, how did you find all these people?’” nanny said.
Police took her to a nearby fire station. Nanny was taken in an ambulance to the hospital.
“She’s one of those women, she doesn’t want to be an inconvenience to anyone,” LeBlanc says. “I’m sure she probably charmed them in her very nanny way.”
She’ll sleep well tonight knowing her nanny’s safe.
“I don't think nanny quite realized the army of people that were working to get her to safety,” LeBlanc says.