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National Guard Helps Evacuate Three Households in Louisiana

By Sgt. 1st Class Paul Meeker
Special to American Forces Press Service

HACKBERRY, La., Sept. 13, 2008 – Members of three different Hackberry, La., households stayed in their homes through the fierce winds and flooding of Hurricane Ike, believing they wouldn’t suffer any worse than they did during Hurricane Rita in September 2005. However, the water rose three to four feet in their homes, compared to one foot three years ago.

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Army Command Sgt. Maj. Ricky Griffin of the Louisiana National Guard assists Delores Duhon and Bobaloo the cat out of a UH60L helicopter at the Million Air hangar at Chennault Airport in Lake Charles, La. U.S. Army Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Paul Meeker
  

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

“Water came in around 9 p.m. We had made plans to go into the attic and had provisions there, so that’s where we went,” said Leroy East of Hackberry. “We stayed this time because it took us so long to get back to our property after Rita. But I won’t stay again.”

The six adults and two pets were rescued from their homes by Hackberry Firemen who picked them up via boat. The fire department had been alerted to their whereabouts by Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries agents who had received a cell phone call from a relative of one of the stranded residents.

The National Guard helicopter piloted by Chief Warrant Officers Kevin Dares and Don Pierce picked them up from high ground and transported them to the Million Air hangar at Chennault Airport in Lake Charles, La.

From there, Wildlife and Fisheries agents assisted the evacuees by helping them make contact with friends and relatives who could pick them up.

The rescued citizens were Floyd and Bernadette Silver, Leroy and Pamela East, David Benoit and Dolores Duhon, as well as one dog, Tiny, and one cat, Bobaloo.

(Army Sgt. 1st Class Paul Weller is assigned to the 241st Mobile Public Affairs Office.)

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Click photo for screen-resolution imageArmy Command Sgt. Maj. Ricky Griffin of the Louisiana National Guard leads a group of stranded citizens to National Guard helicopters who then transport them from Hackberry, La., to the Million Air hangar at Chennault Airport in Lake Charles. U.S. Army Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Paul Meeker  
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Click photo for screen-resolution imageArmy Staff Sgt. Marie Glidden of the Louisiana National Guard leads Hackberry residents into the Million Air hangar at Chennault Airport in Lake Charles, La. From there Wildlife and Fisheries agents assisted them in making contact with friends and relatives who could pick them up. U.S. Army Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Paul Meeker  
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