September 30, 2005
He was trapped in his attic for 18 days after Hurricane Katrina, temperatures reaching nearly 125 degrees and a gallon of water quickly running out. Now living in Augusta with his son and his family, 76 year old Gerald Martin is alive to tell about it. It's a survivor's story you'll see only on 12.
It was 18 days of Hell - no food and trapped in an attic that reached 120 degrees each day. Gerald Martin lived the nightmare.
"The water was high as the porch rail, it was all coming in," Martin said.
He fell asleep on the coach waiting for a family member to come get him before the storm, but the water was swallowing his home fast and Martin was left all alone.
"Nobody was there, the only ones I could hear was the dogs hollering come get me," Martin said.
As flood waters reached his ceiling, he only had time to grab a gallon of water. Now trapped and not small enough to get through the hole in the attic, the 76 year old credits his military experience for surviving.
"Just drank water, a sip of water a day," Martin said.
There was always hope for a better day. Time was running out, and 18 days after Katrina, Gerald Martin spotted the coast guard. He was their first survivor in the 12 days they had been searching.
"It was about time. Thank you Lord to see the beginning of another day," Martin said.
Water still high, Gerald Martin had to be rescued by boat on his way to the helicopter. He asked for some cold water. He also spotted Taco Bell.
"I don't know what it was just something I seen let's go get a Taco Bell in the ambulance tell them to come open up and get a Taco Bell," Martin said.
But Taco Bell of course was closed and heavily damaged. Gerald Martin never did get his Taco Bell until he visited the Tobacco Road location.
Only arriving with the clothes on his back, he still remains upbeat about a storm who robbed him of everything.
"Everything can be replaced, but not life," Martin said.
As many families, Gerald Martin lost everything. The family of Mr. Martin has a trust fund set up for him at any Wachovia Bank. Also, Antioch Baptist Church is accepting donations for all of the Katrina victims.