Agencies lend aid to Hurricane Ian recovery
The Meridian Star, Miss. October 1, 2022
(Tribune News Service) — Soldiers, electric linemen and non-profit organizations from the Meridian area are headed to Florida to help the disaster recovery efforts following Hurricane Ian. Ian made landfall Wednesday as one of the most powerful storms to strike the U.S., causing massive flooding and destruction.
In a press release Thursday, the Mississippi National Guard announced soldiers with Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 111th Aviation Regiment in Meridian were heading to Brooksville-Tampa Bay Regional Airport to support the recovery effort.
While there, the guardsmen will deliver critical supplies to affected areas on two CH-47 Chinook helicopters.
Additional guardsmen from the 255th Air Control Squadron out of Gulfport were headed to Gainesville, Florida to provide technical communication support. In total, the Mississippi National Guard said about 20 soldiers would be deployed to help the disaster recovery effort.
“Our Soldiers and Airmen are always training for emergency response missions along with their military readiness training. The talented Soldiers and Airmen of the Mississippi National Guard are ready to support our neighbors in Florida with lifesaving communication and heavy lift aviation logistical support,” said Maj. Gen. Janson D. Boyles, the adjutant general of Mississippi.
The National Guard, however, was not the only organization to send help. Julie Boles, Director of Marketing and Communication for East Mississippi Electric Power Association said the power company was sending 19 employees to help restore needed electric power to devastated Florida communities.
EMEPA linemen, servicemen and engineers were traveling to Wauchula, Florida to lend manpower to Peace River Electric Cooperative, Boles said.
“ Peace River Electric’s service territory experienced some of its worst weather to date in Ian, which made landfall in Florida on Wednesday afternoon as a category 4 storm,” Boles said. “ Peace River Electric reported on Thursday morning that 88 percent of its more than 55,200 members were currently without power.”
Mississippi Power also announced it was sending personnel to help out. In a news release the utility provider said a storm team of 100 people were heading to Valdosta, Georgia to join the recovery effort.
Mississippi Power Storm Director Melvin Roland said the team was ready to help in any capacity they could.
“Fortunately, we’ve had a quiet storm season so far in 2022,” he said. “But we know it only takes one storm to impact lives across the southeast. Our storm-tested team is prepared and ready to help whoever needs it.”
Mississippi chapters of The Salvation Army were also staging to lend aid to the disaster recovery effort. In a news release, Lt. Roy Fisher, Commanding Officer of The Salvation Army Meridian, said mobile feeding units and emergency disaster teams from Mississippi and Texas were on the ground to provide relief to evacuees and responders.
Prior to landfall two warehouses in Tampa, Florida and McDonough, Georgia were being packed with food, water, hygiene items and more to be distributed to displaced Floridians during the recovery period, Fisher said.
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