92-year-old Harvey evacuee thankful for 'magnificent men' who rescued her

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Friday, September 1, 2017
Reuniting with Miss Shirley
Reuniting with Miss Shirley

HOUSTON, Texas -- We first met Ms. Shirley Sechler on live television while she was being rescued from floodwater during Harvey's assault on Houston.

"Oh, I didn't realize (I was on TV). I would have worn my wig for the occasion," she said as the crew burst out in laughter.

KABC reporter meets spunky 92-year-old in boat rescue

The reporter who first introduced us to Ms. Shirley caught up with her two days after her rescue, as she is taking shelter at a relative's home in west Houston.

She is doing very well after her harrowing adventure, and continues to sing the praises of her rescuers.

"The rescue was frightening, it was terrible. I kept thinking I was going to slip off into the water," Ms. Shirley recalled. "I just couldn't believe all the wonderful guys, big muscular good looking guys who were holding on to me and not letting me slip."

She added that while there were boats going up and down her street, "It was uncomfortable and scary, and it was just so wonderful to have the reassurance of these magnificent men."

And yes, we asked about her wig.

"That was more essential than my toothbrush, which I forgot," she said. "It's just part of me. It's how I meet the world."

We even got a little of Ms. Shirley's life story, including the time she lived in Los Angeles, before settling down.

"Oh, that was fun! I was thin, and blonde, and beautiful. Hey, there's no better time to go to Los Angeles and live in Hollywood! It was great!" She paused, "And then I got married."

Having charmed her rescuers, the TV audience and told her story has gone viral, Ms. Shirley laughed and admitted she loves the attention.

"Can't get enough of that wonderful stuff!" She added, "I'm just me, little old me."

Ms. Shirley's family is just as amused by the response to her initial live interview.

"It's just been unbelievable, really to see that power of social media. You hear about it, but you never think it's going to happen to yourself or especially your mom," her son told us. "We're sitting there in the house, the water''s creeping up. We're just thinking about getting out and being safe. Then all of a sudden you're here, and there's Twitter and Facebook."

Ms. Shirley's granddaughters watched the delightful interview live with the rest of the Eyewitness News audience.

"We turn on the news and we see it's just the funniest thing," one of the girls said. "Everybody likes her. She's just a sweetheart."

The 92-year-old has a reputation for speaking her mind, but doesn't want to be defined by her age.

As for her immediate future, Ms. Shirley will be staying with her daughter, until she can get back to her own house.

"I have a wonderful, wonderful, beautiful daughter," she gushed. "Very beautiful."

Elex Michaelson took the bait, asking, "Are you trying to set me up?"

"I'm letting you know," Ms. Shirley laughed. "And maybe you'll come out and see us there!"

But when it comes right down to it, Ms. Shirley is just a part of this incredible spirit of Houston.

"It's amazing. Everybody seems to be concerned for everybody else. The concern is tremendous," she said. "Seeing all the people coming out ... to help the people who are suffering. It's just really gratifying. ... The essence of it is that people ... just really care about each other."