The Rome Ga Cares team is headed back home today after spending the last four days helping the community of Beauregard Parish in DeRidder, Louisiana that was hit hard by Hurricane Laura. They are leaving Louisiana at 6 a.m. (CST) for the 10-hour trip back to Rome.
Floyd Sheriff Tim Burkhalter gave this summary on their week-long “The Faith & the Badge” mission:
“We had a combined 22 volunteers including 14 Floyd County Sheriff’s Office and Polk County Sheriff’s Office deputies, 4 clergymen/chaplains, 2 Floyd County Sheriff’s Posse members and 2 clergy from Lake Charles ares who became aware of our mission and drove down to help. We roofed approximately 15 houses, trailers and businesses. We dispersed two 53-foot long tractor trailers and two large U-Haul trucks of supplies, toys, juice boxes, and healthy snacks for the kids. On our last day today, we focused primarily on the children…some in nurseries, day care and churches. The Mayor of DeRidder met us, as did the Sheriff (Mark Herford) and his Command Staff who hosted us.”
Recorded live from Louisiana to Rome via podcast: A caravan of hurricane relief supplies, donated by Floyd County residents for victims of Hurricane Laura, left our area on Monday, Sept. 21, for the hard-hit community of Beauregard Parish.
On Wednesday, we talked with Beauregard Sheriff Mark Herford about the storm itself (gusts of 140-145 mph), extensive damage (28,000 structures, minor to major) and the loss of basic power and water services in the storm’s wake.
Herford says the community is recovering and was so appreciative of the trucks filled with relief supplies collected from Rome and Floyd County to help his community.
The Rome Ga Cares team remains on the ground, distributing cleaning gear, fans, water and treats for the kids — even as the remnants of another storm, Beta — trigger new flood concerns there. The Rome team is doing fine, Floyd County Sheriff Tim Burkhalter says — adding that they’re getting to taste a whole lot of boudin (a sausage-like specialty) and other local cooking during their breaks.
From the Beauregard Sheriff’s Office: Humanitarian Mission From Rome Georgia Arrives:
By Natalie Simms
The trucks are loaded and volunteers with Rome Ga Cares are packed up and ready to leave at 6 a.m. tomorrow for their 10-plus hour drive to Beauregard Parish in DeRidder, Louisiana to help victims of Hurricane Laura. This will be the seventh mission for the Rome Ga Cares organization.
“We have 2 full semi-tractor trailers that were donated for the trip and 2 U-Haul trucks all full with food and supplies collected or purchased through donations to Rome Ga Cares,” says Floyd County Sheriff Tim Burkhalter who also coordinates the Rome Ga Cares operation.
“Our contributions really picked up towards the end of the week. And we’ve collected the most cash donations we’ve ever had…between $12,000 and $14,000 in cash donations, so we’ve done a lot of shopping. I’ve been to every Dollar General, Family Dollar and Dollar Tree in two counties.”
For this mission, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office also participated in the collection of donations and will be sending some deputies as volunteers on the trip. Several churches including North Rome Church of God, Pleasant Valley North Baptist and Pleasant Valley South Baptist also served as collection centers around the area.
“We got everything that we asked for to fill these buckets…cleaning supplies and more. We have lots of box fans, tarps, infant care items and toys for children,” says Burkhalter. “We have 18 volunteers going to distribute the food and supplies, many are from local churches, so this will really be like a ministry trip.”
Rome Ga Cares is partnering with Beauregard Sheriff Mark Herford to distribute items and help the community recover after being devastated by Hurricane Laura. Burkhalter says they will be putting tarps on roofs and clearing debris and any other necessary projects.
“We will be working close to the river in Beauregard…the area has seen the least amount of contact with others for assistance, so we are focused on helping the areas that need the most attention. We may even be putting in water lines…many of these folks are still without water or power,” he says.
Burkhalter says he appreciates all the support the Floyd and Polk county communities have given to their relief efforts.
“We are looking forward to going down on Monday and being able to help this week,” he says. “We’ve notified all the Sheriff’s departments along our route that our convoy will be coming through with our lights on. We appreciate everyone’s prayers.”