The Aerial Recovery Group safely arrived in Lake Charles, Louisiana on Thursday night. We had a highly effective first day by splitting into two teams, one performing recon and filming the top needs in order to orchestrate effective aid and volunteers for the future. The other team jumped into emergency construction projects to assist the elderly. Watch our video footage of the devastation HERE.
We did a recon trip to Cameron Parish assisting the World Central Kitchen in serving the people in the community meals as well as directing them to additional food and support. Most people do not have web data or cell phone coverage as all the towers are down.
It is such an eye opening and humbling experience to have the ability to see firsthand the devastation that the news is not reporting. “I’ve been to many devastations, and every single time I walk away humbled, and grateful for the experience of being able to witness the resiliency of the human spirit.” Britnie Turner
The team saw catastrophic destruction and are all shocked that this is not making any consistent headlines. This area experienced a 20-foot surge and saw 98% devastation. Many homes were completely wiped out leaving only foundational blocks or stilts.
The rare instances of buildings left standing are damaged beyond repair. There are hazards everywhere and we are having to take extreme precautions. “The landscape and infrastructure in Cameron Parish is virtually unrecognizable.” Jeremy Locke
As a society, we put so much stock in our “stuff” and it was amazing to be able to meet, interview and learn what matters most to people that have lost every single thing they own in a disaster.
We were able to speak with a woman who has actually lost her home three times, between three different storms in her lifetime because she just happened to live in areas that were wrecked by hurricanes. In response to the question: after all you lost, what matters most now? She said, “I have my husband and my children. We collectively are ‘home.’ And anything else is just a bonus that we can go in and out of as a family. But home is us. I love my community. And though it struggles with storms, I will never live anywhere else.” What an absolutely beautiful way to live.
We also interviewed a man, who when asked to give advice to someone who is about to go through this level of devastation for the first time said, “Do not look at the big picture. You have to focus on the one piece of trash that you can move right now. You have to focus on the one pile of bricks that you can move right now. You have to recover one tiny step, one little success at a time. Devastation this big is so overwhelming, it can cripple you into thinking that it's impossible to ever come back from it. And that's just not the case. Cameron Parish will be great again.” This is amazing advice that we can apply not only to surviving the trauma of natural disaster, but to any seemingly overwhelming situation.
“The Aerial Recovery team is operating smoothly together thanks to their Basic Training and now boots on the ground experience. We are making connections in an area we have never served before and completing our recon.” Jeremy Locke
The need is extensive for both volunteers and resources. If you are able to donate supplies it will be received with great gratitude at https://laura.usastronger.com/.
“You don’t have to be highly skilled or a licensed contractor to be able to make a meaningful difference down here. They are still in the clean up phase. A pair of willing hands and a big heart will go a long way.” Britnie Turner
If you are unable to donate supplies or funds, but would like to help support the recovery efforts, you can sign up to volunteer at https://www.aerialrecoverygroup.com/.
Everyone can make a difference and when your neighbor needs help, you help.
3 ways you can make a difference today:
Join the recovery in any way that you can.