Omar Rodríguez Ortiz, Marco Eagle
Published October 13th, 2020
An emergency response nonprofit based on Marco Island cleared downed trees and rescued pets in a Louisiana town last weekend in the aftermath of Hurricane Delta.
It was the group's third deployment to Louisiana this year after also providing relief after hurricanes Sally and Laura, said Matthew Melican, president of the Marco Patriots.
Their first task in Abbeville, Louisiana, was to help police clear the town's main road after a large tree fell on power lines.
"They looked like they needed our assistance so we immediately jumped out of the truck and went to work," said Trevor Webdale of the Patriots.
Webdale said clearing roads is important to make it easier for first responders to respond to emergency calls.
"At that point the police asked us to follow them and they escorted us from tree to tree all over town," he said.
The team later arrived at an 89-year-old woman's house after receiving a report that a large tree fell on top of it.
The tree caused heavy damage to the front porch and prevented the woman from using the front door, said Erin Mia Milchman, board chairwoman of the organization.
After removing the tree, the Patriots gave the woman food and a power generator.
Milchman said the team also helped rescue several pets including a puppy with its umbilical cord still attached. The team and first responders found the puppy under tree debris and worked around the clock to find appropriate food to feed it.
"She was doing great but then she started having breathing problems," Milchman said.
The puppy was taken to a veterinarian and was administered oxygen but later died, she said.
The Abbeville emergency response operation was possible thanks to a team effort, Melican said.
Owen Maynard deployed from Marco Island with Webdale while Amy Garry and retired Marines Allan Garry and Lore "Robin" Lee deployed from North Carolina, Milchman said.
Melican said volunteers from Florida and other parts of the country work during storms to provide the team on the ground with up-to-date information about storm surges, flooding and finding places to shelter during strong winds.
"The whole town came together really well, and it was amazing to work with the local authorities," Webdale said. "We are glad we could be of service to people in need."