Citizen-Soldiers Distribute Food, Water, Ice as Louisiana Recovers
By Army Staff Sgt. Jeff Lowry
Special to American Forces Press Service
LIVINGSTON, La., Sept. 4, 2008 Like a scene from pit road during a stock car race, cars and trucks formed a line as National Guard soldiers, looking like pit crew members, gave away packaged meals and water to Louisiana residents suffering from damage left in Hurricane Gustav's wake.
Army Pvt. Marvin Warner of Vidalia, La., a driver with the Louisiana National Guard’s 1086th Transportation Company, helps stack boxes of packaged meals Sept. 3, 2008, at Livingston, La. U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Jeff Lowry, 120th Public Affairs Detachment
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
That was the scene at one of many distribution points set up across the state to help citizens recover from the storm and deal with the loss of electrical power.
"I think it's great," Floyd Wagner of Killian, La., said, commenting on the food and water he was about to receive. "[Louisiana residents] need all the help they can get, because everybody in the community needs it."
Two tractor trailer trucks delivered more than 6,000 boxes yesterday afternoon, each box containing 12 meals. Later, a tractor-trailer load of bottled water arrived.
Depending on the specific distribution point, citizens could receive water, ice, food or tarps.
First in line here was Ruby Mayeaux of Livingston. She said she was driving by and saw the trucks arrive at a local kennel club. “The Lord blessed me," she said of her prized position in line.
Radio reports said lines at some distribution points were nine hours long. Within an hour, the line at the Livingston distribution point extended a mile down the exit ramp to Interstate 12; another line extended about a half mile on the overpass.
The National Guard soldiers said they are happy to deliver the food and water.
"It feels really good that we can help out," said Army Pvt. Marvin Warner of Vidalia, La., as he helped stack the boxes of meals. Warner is a driver for the 1086th Transportation Company.
"It's pretty fun going to different places every day," said Warner, who has been to five towns since Aug. 28. Warner is a physical therapy major at University of Louisiana Monroe when not serving in the Guard.
Army Spc. Zachary Morrison of the Tennessee National Guard said he takes honor in helping his fellow Americans. "It's good to help Americans in their time of need," he said as he directed the drivers to pit road.
"It's good to help, but home is home. It's good to help Americans when you can," said Morrison, an infantryman with Headquarters Troop, 2nd Battalion, 278th Armored Cavalry Regiment.
(Army Staff Sgt. Jeff Lowry serves with the 120th Public Affairs Detachment.)