Kevin Ott, extended family celebrate Thanksgiving after rescuing 12 people during Ian

Reporter: Jolena Esperto Writer: Paul Dolan
Published: Updated:


Kevin Ott needed to rescue his kids and grandmother in Island Park when Hurricane Ian hit on Sept. 28.

“It was unbelievable in the water. We just… it looked like a river, which was really weird. A river in the middle of a road,” Ott said.

Ott grabbed Billy, a friend of his, boat and quickly understood his family wasn’t the only one that needed to be rescued.

Kristin Millar’s husband had gone for help but got stuck in a preserve.

She and their 3-year-old son Bryce were clinging to a tree.

“I had one arm around him there maybe holding on to the jacket,” Kristin said.

And Kevin rescued all of them.

The water was rushing in at Mary Ann, their grandmother’s, house.

“I told Kevin that we weren’t going to make it. He said yeah, I’ll find a way,” Mary Ann said.

In total, Kevin rescued 12 people, two cats, and a dog in the middle of Hurricane Ian.

“He’s family. His family is my family,” Kristin said.

Everybody Kevin rescued is together in Mary Ann’s rental house eating as one big happy family for Thanksgiving dinner, and Kevin said this will be their first of many Thanksgivings and holidays together.

“Our little tiny thing we did affected not just one person, it affected this one and this one, and there could have been a lot of funerals. But there won’t be; there will be a lot of holidays together, though. I’m thankful for everyone, for all of my kids,” Kevin said.

“Hard to put into words, but we are thankful, and you can’t have enough family and loved ones, but now we all have extended family and loved ones. We are here to celebrate and give thanks, and it’s going to be an extremely special day,” Kevin said.

The whole family enjoyed a very special Thanksgiving dinner together.

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