Ohio task force one is back home Saturday night after more than a week in Louisiana doing damage assessments and helping in communities most impacted by Hurricane Ida.
The Type III Urban Search and Rescue Team left on August 27 ahead of Hurricane Ida.
Team members said they were prepared for any mission they’d be given once they arrived in Louisiana. This time they were responsible for damage assessment for FEMA, which will help the areas affected rebuild and recover after the storm.
“We were sent out there to do welfare checks, make sure everybody was accounted for, and to provide assistance to the community so they can start the rebuilding process sooner,” Task Force leader Jeffrey Newman said.
Team members said while their mission was to help these communities, the people they met were just as helpful.
“People were still trying to hand us water as we’re trying to hand them water,” rescue team manager Brett Beach said. “People wanting to help us, us helping them, so it’s always refreshing to see the human spirit being so giving.”
Ohio Task Force 1 most commonly responds to hurricanes, going to around two a year. After away from home for more than a week, the biggest reward for the team members is returning home to family.
“Honestly, spending time with my family, that’s the big recharge for me,” Beach said. “A lot of us probably won’t go back to work until Tuesday or Wednesday, so it’s kind of a nice little break to spend some time with the family.”
“It always feels good to come back home,” Newman said.
Team members said what’s next for them is to go home, re-pack their bags and get ready for the next time they’re called on to help.