‘Our footprint only lasts so long in their sand’: Local group assisting with Ida rescue, relief efforts

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RICHLANDS, N.C. (WNCT) — Although the initial impact of Ida may be over, communities are still picking up the pieces as the effects of the storm have caused life-changing damages.

The Marco Patriots, a non-profit with a North Carolina branch in Richlands near Jacksonville went to Louisiana to provide relief and rescue assistance. The organization’s North Carolina team leader gave 9OYS a better understanding of what things really look like on the ground.

“We were stuck in Slidell for probably about six hours, held up outside of a bank teller,” said Allan Garry, the NC team leader for the non-profit.

Stuck, It’s a word to describe how many felt as Ida raged through Louisiana.

“We dropped off our relief supplies and we got our rescue equipment so we had the team out of Florida they brought up an airboat, jet skis,” said Garry.

Garry also says the scene was dark and above all, people needed help.

“Immediately we saw the flood levels there and we knew that there were areas where we knew that there were, of course, people stuck in there so we immediately went to work.”

He notes that although homes and businesses have been destroyed, that people are surprisingly still keeping a positive attitude.

“There was an elderly lady that did in fact need extraction,” said Garry. “We stood in the middle of I-10 and we took off our gloves and we flagged down some of those rescue helicopters that were flying around and the helicopter landed and it was a Black Hawk. Our team let them know what we were doing and they took off and two coast guard helicopters came in behind them and they evacuated that woman and her family.”

Garry notes that this will take a while to rebuild. However, saying that the community is showing up for each other in more ways than one.

“The attitudes were overall very positive which was surprising. Of course, there is sadness, these people lost their homes,” said Garry. “One woman told me she said ‘I’m homeless, they’re homeless,’ and she’s pointing and these people are their neighbors and they’re homeless now, we don’t have anything.”

Garry says they have crews assisting in northern states as Ida brought some residents flooding issues.

“This isn’t a year, this isn’t six months, this is a year, 10 years probably,” said Garry. “Our footprint only lasts so long in their sand for them.”

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