As Storm Moves Northeast, National Guard Responds
By Steve Marshall
National Guard Bureau
ARLINGTON, Va., Feb. 14, 2014 Nearly three thousand National Guardsmen across nine states and the District of Columbia have spent much of this week helping people along the East Coast recover from a brutal winter storm that dumped heavy snow across much of the region and has been blamed for at least 21 deaths.
Army Staff Sgt. Timothy Bellinger, of Cumming, Ga., and the Georgia National Guard, drove an 83-year-old woman home from a hospital Feb. 13, 2014, when a storm rendered roads impassable to car traffic. Georgia National Guard photo
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
About 2,850 soldiers and airmen were on duty in the District of Columbia and in Connecticut, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, New York, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia.
Duties included assisting stranded motorists, pulling semi-trailers out of ditches with heavy-duty wreckers, transporting law enforcement and firefighting personnel — and just being there in case local authorities needed a boost.
In hard-hit Georgia, the ice storm left many residents of Augusta without power and heat. Several vehicles were stuck in ditches throughout the city, and Guardsmen used their tactical vehicles to pull the cars out. A couple who live near the Augusta armory was provided shelter, warmth and a hot meal by an 878th Engineer Battalion soldier who only recently had returned from Afghanistan.
“I just want to tell the Georgia Guard thank you,” said Augusta resident Paige McDaniels after members of the 165th Air Support Squadron transported her and her three grandchildren to a local church that provided shelter. “The Guard did an awesome job. I appreciate it.”
Army National Guard members of the Cumming, Ga.-based 560th Battlefield Surveillance Brigade were in their second day of icy patrols during the storm when two of them completed a special mission.
Army Staff Sgt. Timothy Bellinger, a Cumming resident, had been with the 560th BFSB for just two months when he and Army Spc. Derek Owens found themselves in a Humvee on the icy streets of his hometown in northern Georgia.
Bellinger’s vehicle was directed to Northside Hospital where he and Owens were asked if they could help an 83-year old woman get home. The Georgia Guardsmen immediately agreed.
“She asked me if she could drive,” Bellinger said. “I said, 'Well, ma’am, maybe not this time.” Bellinger reported that his smiling passenger appeared to enjoy the ride.
“She said it was pretty cool,” he said.