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TDCJ News

A Warden’s journey through flood waters during Harvey

During the height of Hurricane Harvey slamming into Houston, TDCJ warden Richard Babcock found himself traversing a desolate but flooded landscape on foot to get to the Kegans ISF near downtown.

Using his experience from growing up in the Sierra Nevada mountains of California and as a veteran backpacker, Babcock hiked nearly six miles on Sunday, August 27 to resume his duties at the facility on Top Street.

“I left Kegans on Saturday evening in my car to go home,” said Babcock. “Unfortunately, the storm came in faster than I anticipated and I couldn’t drive any further so I ended up at a friend’s house north of Loop 610.”

Babcock set up a make-shift office in his friend’s house where he tried to manage operations long distance but soon realized that he needed to be back at the Kegans facility.

“My friend drove me to Ella and Loop 610 on the north side of town,” said Babcock. “We couldn’t drive any further because of the flooding so I started hiking towards downtown.”

It took Babcock, who is 43, nearly three hours to walk almost a half dozen miles through high water and deserted neighborhoods to reach his command. He said it felt apocalyptic the whole time because there were no cars on the roads that were not flooded and all the people had evacuated their homes.

“I had to get back to my unit to take care of my employees and the offenders under our care,” said Babcock. “I was determined to get there and I wasn’t going to let anything get in my way.” Babcock is just one of hundreds of TDCJ employees who reflected the agency’s core values of perseverance, integrity, courage and commitment to push through difficult circumstances during Hurricane Harvey and placed their duties before themselves. #TDCJProud

* The photos below were snapped by Warden Babcock on his hike to the facility.