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Central Texans head to Louisiana to help with Ida recovery

Waco & Hewitt Fire Departments in Louisiana
Posted at 10:49 PM, Aug 31, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-31 23:49:16-04

WACO, TX — When the Waco Fire Department asked for volunteers to head to Louisiana, firefighters Nick Guerrero and Justin Wise knew what they had to do.

"It just fits in our job description," Guerrero said. "We're here to serve the community of Waco and we just took it as an opportunity to serve the community and citizens of Louisiana in a great time of need."

They said they put their names in a hat and were the two chosen to go. They were set up in a staging area near Baton Rouge on Tuesday afternoon alongside two Hewitt firefighters, waiting to be assigned to duties.

"We've heard anything from running 911 calls to search and rescue to humanitarian aid," Wise said. "It really just depends on what they need when the order comes in."

They're just two of the many Texans in Louisiana where hundreds of thousands are still without power. The Texas Salvation Army is sending volunteers in waves to distribute hot meals.

"In the city that we showed up today, we found a park where we were to be serving and there was already a line of cars all the way around the park," said Philip Burn, communications lead for the Texas Salvation Army.

Burn said what he's seen so far in Louisiana is humbling.

"Really put life into perspective a little bit," Burn said.

Volunteers from Waco's Salvation Army are among the next wave to go.

If you're not able to volunteer, there are still ways to help. Burn recommends collaborating with established organizations instead of figuring out how to get supplies to Louisiana on your own.

"At this stage in any disaster, we would always say that the best way for people to help would be to make a financial donation," Burn said

Whether they're in a food truck or a fire truck, Texans are eager to lend a hand.

"I'm glad that our city gives us the opportunity to come do this to help other people," Wise said.

To assist with the Salvation Army's efforts in Louisiana, you can visit their website to donate. You can also register to become a volunteer for future disasters.

Other organizations currently assisting with relief efforts include Volunteer Louisiana and the Cajun Navy Foundation.