HELPING A BOAT HERO Feature by Chester Moore

When a Kingwood Pastor’s Boat Suffered Major Damage Rescuing Hurricane Harvey Flood Victims, His Dealer and the Manufacturer Stepped Up

WHEN THE FLOODWATERS OF HURRICANE HARVEY inundated the Kingwood area Mark Barnhill knew he needed to take action.

Being the Care Pastor at Woodridge Baptist Church means he has a heart for people, and it was heartbreaking to think of many of his church members trapped in dangerous situations.

“I knew I had to do something,” he said. “So I decided to get in my Blue Wave Pure Bay and see if I could get to some of them and bring them to safety.”


Launching into the neighborhood was a strange sensation according to Barnhill. Areas he normally drove were now a navigable path for his boat.

“About the time I went out, the Cajun Navy started showing up, as well as police rescue and helicopters,” Barnhill said. “It was quite the scene. I came up to an apartment complex and figured out a way to get to some of the people and bring them back to safety.” 

“I had them walk down to a spot in the water and then we loaded them in. I was really glad I could do something to help.”

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The current was extremely strong at this point, and Barnhill’s boat was pulled into a hard spot that caused major damage to the hull.

“We kept on going, but I knew it was bad. Really bad,” Barnhill said.

Having purchased his boat at Mt. Houston Marine he decided to give them a call. The company had experienced major flooding themselves, but managed to open up a week after the flood hit.

“We had just done some work on his boat not too terribly long before the storm, but this was different,” said Mt. Houston’s Mark McKenzie. 


“This situation was special because the damage was done in the service of others, so I knew we had to do something.”

McKenzie contacted Blue Wave and Danny Miller of Northwest Fiberglass. Both agreed to take care of Barnhill’s boat free of charge.

Pastor Mark Barhill, left, with Mark McKenzie of Mt. Houston Marine and Danny Miller of Northwest Fiberglass. (Photo: Chester Moore)

“Blue Wave and Danny jumped right on board, and we all did what it took to get him fixed up,” McKenzie said.

Barnhill was blown away by the generosity and appreciates all parties involvement.

“It just shows there are great boat companies, dealerships and people who work on boats out there, Barnhill said. “It shows there are many caring people out there and that makes this very special.”

McKenzie jokingly said the next time he gets a call from Barnhill, it better be to brag about a bunch of trout he caught, not for repair work.

“I look forward to him being able to enjoy the boat the way it was intended, to fish out on the bay; but I am glad he was able to use it to help others who were in a terrible situation. I am glad we were there to help.”


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