MARCO ISLAND, Fla. – Floods swept away homes, and even children in Humphreys County, Tennessee. Now, the Marco Patriots non-profit is stepping up and driving up to the state help. The group is based out of Marco Island with a chapter in the Carolinas.
One of the non-profit’s K9 handlers, Pauline Luksza said their goal is simple.
“We’re taking vast, various technologies, training, and skillsets, and the caring and devotion to help people,” Luksza said.
Luksza and Felicity Garry are two of six volunteers who were unable to sit still after hearing heavy rainfall pummeled rural communities last Saturday.
22 people were found dead. Survivors have little to nothing left. Garry’s drive from North Carolina took 11 hours. For Marco Island volunteers, their drive took at least 15 hours.
“We came here Tuesday night and we set up the tents and stuff like that,” Garry said. The next day, they planted their boots on the ground and entered neighborhoods.
Before officials announced all persons were accounted for. Luksza’s K9 “Echo” aided in search and rescue efforts. Together, they attempted to locate a missing girl. Her remains were found by another group.
“The dog (Echo) is such a wonderful thing and gives comfort to the people as well,” Luksza said.
The Marco Patriots are also teaming up with local grillmasters distributing over 300 meals to members of the community Wednesday.
The non-profit said they will help wherever they can until they’re no longer needed.
“The people here…they’re sad but they’re just so grateful,” Garry said.