In wake of the events that have occurred in the year 2020; one region of the United States Freedom Protectors (Region 9) prepared themselves for not one; but two tropical storms. Louisiana and Texas were the most threatened; with 20 million residents living in their projected path, as both Tropical Storms Marco and Laura grew in intensity, later being upgraded to category 4 hurricanes.
Marco showed his force first hitting Louisiana on August 25; with Laura following closely at his heels. Hurricane Marco produced winds up to 170 MPH, but Hurricane Laura would be the real force to reckon with as she would become the strongest hurricane to hit Louisiana landfall since 1856. Over 500,000 residents begin their hurricane evacuation as Marco and Laura both begin to unleash their fury on the Gulf Coast, just 3 days after the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina on August 23, 2005.
One day after Hurricane Laura made her landfall in Louisiana, Regional Commanding Officer Antonio Zayas; along with Texas SCO Tim Cordell, Texas SXO Chas Theriot; Texas District 7 - LT Bobby Wilson, XO Shawn Goodman, 1rst SGT Sterling Moebius, SGT Brian Pauley; District 8 - XO James Johnson; District 9 - LT Thomas Alexander, and CPL Robert Poland. The Texas members began to help distribute the much needed supplies to several local churches in D’Quincy, Longview, Moss Bluff, Oretta, Reeves, and Singer.
Among the supplies donated by the USFP; Antonio Zayas and his wife purchased 20 five gallon cans of gasoline, 21 pallets of water, tarps, batteries, generators, window A/C units, and canned food. USFP Founder Richard WIlliams, Region 9 Regional Executive Officer Brady Fitzner, Region 5 Regional Commanding Officer; Robert Love, and members of Louisiana State Chapter each donated an additional 3 pallets of water each. In total; 32 pallets of water were donated to the smaller communities - each pallet containing 129 cases of bottled water, for a grand total of 4,128 cases of water.
While Texas members were busy helping the smaller communities in the lower half of the state. Arkansas SCO Shane Flemming sent his Arkansas crew to West Monroe, Louisiana; one of the areas most devastated by destruction from the hurricane. Arkansas State XO Tim Neal and District 4 XO Scott Parker; along with a few members donated 20 pallets of water, hygiene supplies, canned food, and some other necessities to residents of West Monroe.
While the Arkansas team was busy distributing their donations of supplies to local churches in West Monroe; Texas SXO Chas Theriot worked to remove fallen trees off the property of residents in Deridder, Louisiana; which allowed residents to return to their homes as the USFP members continued to deliver supplies and see that they were distributed where they were needed the most.
In total Hurricane Laura caused a total of 125 billion dollars in damage, more than 400,000 residents went without power for days, and the lives of 14 citizens were lost in the disaster.
Without the help of the USFP Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas members working with the state troopers and local churches; many of the affected communities would not have received as much help and support as they did get. A big hand goes out to all the hurricane helpers from these three state chapters of the USFP.
Included is a letter from Rochelle at The Singer Baptist Church.
“Good morning! You have been on my mind since I left you yesterday! I want you to know you are appreciated by me, my community and Singer Baptist Church. You were the first one on the ground bringing us water and offering any help you could provide! You've impacted my life and this community more than you will ever know. You have been an inspiration to many throughout this area and truly have shown what it means to "be the hands and feet of Jesus"! Your uplifting words and actions have lifted the spirits of many broken and defeated folks around here! We are all tired and exhausted, physically and emotionally, but together, we will overcome and come back stronger than before and your kindness and love shown throughout this last week, is playing a huge part in our comeback! Thank you from the bottom of my heart!"