Middle Tennesseans head south to help in aftermath of Hurricane Ida

Screen Shot 2021-08-30 at 9.10.46 PM.png
Posted at 9:26 PM, Aug 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-30 23:17:25-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Middle Tennessee volunteers and first responders are preparing to roll up their sleeves and help in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida.

"When you get down in the ground zero impact area, there just aren’t a lot of words to describe it," said Joey Stoltzfus, the disaster services director for Hope Force International in Brentwood.

Monday, he was on the road to Baton Rouge with his team. They were planning to put tarps on roofs, and help homeowners clean out flood-damaged homes. Stoltzfus said depending on the needs, the team could be in Louisiana for as long as six weeks.

"To be able to go help someone who is in great need is just a great privilege," said Stoltzfus.

A spokesperson for the American Red Cross said five people have deployed from Tennessee to Mississippi and more were expected to move into Louisiana on Tuesday. Crews will focus first on providing shelters and support to people in need, and in the coming days will bring food and relief supplies to areas hit hard by the hurricane.

Several first responders from Davidson and Williamson counties are already working 12-hour shifts helping with search and recovery operations as part of Tennessee Task Force 2. Members will stage in Port Allen, Louisiana. The deployment is expected to last 14 days.

A total of 320 soldiers from the Tennessee National Guard’s 251st Military Police Company in Lexington and Savannah, 1172nd Transportation Company in Memphis and Waynesboro, and the 1176th Transportation Company in Dresden, Jacksboro, and Smyrna are preparing to depart for Louisiana to assist with relief and recovery operations. These Guardsmen will assist with security in the affected areas, provide high water vehicles to support rescue and recovery operations, and provide vehicles to transport citizens out of the affected areas among other tasks.