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Oklahoma National Guardsmen distribute food and water after Hurricane Ida

Oklahoma National Guardsmen Spc. Michael West, left, and Spc. Gage Stone, right, truck drivers with Alpha Company, 120th Engineer Battalion, 90th Troop Command, give supplies to a resident of a neighborhood in LaPlace, Louisiana, Sept. 7, 2021. Oklahoma National Guardsmen drove throughout neighborhoods to distribute supplies directly to Louisiana residents, allowing for essential aid to reach the local populace quickly. (Oklahoma National Guard photo by Senior Airman Alex Kaelke)

Oklahoma National Guardsmen Spc. Michael West, left, and Spc. Gage Stone, right, truck drivers with Alpha Company, 120th Engineer Battalion, 90th Troop Command, give supplies to a resident of a neighborhood in LaPlace, Louisiana, Sept. 7, 2021. Oklahoma National Guardsmen drove throughout neighborhoods to distribute supplies directly to Louisiana residents, allowing for essential aid to reach the local populace quickly. (Oklahoma National Guard photo by Senior Airman Alex Kaelke)

LAPLACE, LA — With the Hurricane Ida relief effort well underway, Oklahoma National Guardsmen travel throughout neighborhoods in southern Louisiana to distribute food, water, and ice to residents, Sept. 7, 2021.

Virtually all residents of LaPlace, Louisiana have some extent of damage to their properties. The destructive impact of hurricanes like Ida may never be completely understood by many Oklahomans, but Oklahoma National Guardsmen are doing their best to lessen the devastating blow by delivering goods in neighborhoods using light military tactical vehicles.

“We’re delivering ice, and MREs, and water to the citizens out in this neighborhood,” said Sgt. Nicholas Howard, a motor transport operator with the 1245th Transportation Company, 345th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion. “A mission like this gives them hope.”

Food, water, and ice doesn't solve all the problems of Louisiana residents, but it certainly helps handle the sweltering heat and humidity expected in southern Louisiana during this time of year, with many residents still without power.

Oklahoma Guardsmen going door to door, distributing what the citizens of southern Louisiana need during this very dark hour, does not go unappreciated by those affected by Hurricane Ida. At a time where many are without means to travel to stores, and many stores are still without power, providing aid directly to those affected does well to enhance the morale of residents.

When the weather shifts to rain, tarps laid onto rooftops provide shelter to the residents below. Guardsmen have been handing out tarps at point of distribution sites to help protect homes after the devastating storm.

“We have been passing out tarps. A lot of people have specifically been asking for them and they are pretty excited to get one,” said Airman First Class Jordan Terry, a crew chief with the 138th Maintenance Group. “I know on the way here we were seeing some roofs covered with tarps, lots of holes in walls, broken windows.”

Our role as Guardsmen is limited, which may be challenging. We are not able to solve as many problems as we may like to, but the aid we are able to provide is very welcome. Louisiana residents have shown an outpour of support to the Oklahoma Guard mission of providing relief to victims of Hurricane Ida.

Whether the Oklahoma National Guard’s presence in Louisiana is nearing a close has yet to be determined, but the Oklahoma National Guard’s mission of serving American citizens will never come to a close and stands strong and true in Louisiana.

“It could be another week, it could be longer,” said Howard. “We’re waiting to see if we’re extended. We’re out here till the job gets done.”

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