USA: Volunteer firefighters return from hurricanes Katrina, Rita
The volunteers, all firefighters with Tualatin Valley Fire and Rescue in Tualatin , Ore. , begin working in New Orleans on Sept. 18. As Hurricane Rita headed to Texas last week, the team was redeployed to Beaumont , Texas , where they worked around the clock to help evacuate hundreds of families fleeing the raging wind and rain.
Following the wrath of Rita, the team was on the road again with the Oregon National Guard to help people recovering from the storm in Louisiana .
"We literally had to chainsaw our way across roads and into homes to rescue people," says Scott Malone, team leader for Northwest Medical Teams. "Homes, buildings and towns were totally destroyed. Hundreds of people in these smaller communities had absolutely no one to help them."
Malone and the volunteers return at 12:47 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 1, America West #788, PDX airport. Interviews available from 1 to 1:45 p.m. at baggage claim.
The firefighters wrapped up their two weeks of service in the Gulf Coast by relieving exhausted firefighters at Lake Charles Fire Department who have been working 'round the clock for the last month. Many of these firefighters had lost their own homes during Katrina and had not yet found adequate housing for their families.
Northwest Medical Teams has sent nearly $900,000 in medical supplies, household products and hygiene items to the Gulf States. Other programs in the region include:
Eight volunteers depart this weekend for Lafayette , La. , to care for special needs patients.
Medical volunteers are working in the Bossier Civic Center near Shreveport , caring for evacuees who were re-located from Lake Charles .
Five nurses are caring for patients affected by the hurricane in Moss Point , Miss.
The Mobile Health Care van continues to provide immunizations and treat hurricane evacuees in southwest Louisiana .
To contribute to the Hurricane Disaster Relief Fund, call 1-800-959-4325, mail gifts to Northwest Medical Teams, P.O. Box 10, Portland, OR97207, or give online at our secure Web site: www.nwmedicalteams.org. Donations can also be made at any US Bank office.
Contact: Barbara Agnew