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NEWS | Sept. 4, 2020

Louisiana Guard provides water to Hurricane Laura volunteers

By Sgt. 1st Class Denis B. Ricou Louisiana National Guard

BATON ROUGE, La. – Louisiana National Guard members with the 199th Brigade Support Battalion, 256th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, are providing clean, potable water to volunteers in Lake Charles who are helping clean up damage caused by Hurricane Laura.

According to 1st Sgt. Micki Bryant, Guard members are providing water needed for showers, cleaning and cooking for about 60 to 70 volunteers of Samaritan's Purse, a nondenominational evangelical Christian organization.

"Without the support of the Louisiana National Guard we wouldn't be able to do what we do … chainsaw work, putting tarps on roofs, debris removal and assisting citizens with removing items from damaged homes free of service," said Clay Steelman, program manager for Samaritan's Purse. "There is no potable water in the community, and without it, that means that we would not have overnight volunteers."

The water is stored and transported as a 2,000-gallon potable-water tank known as a Hippo.

Spc. Gabriela Morales Hernandez, a water treatment specialist from Puerto Rico, has been moving from site to site in Deridder and Lake Charles, ensuring that the Hippos are operational and certified to be used for civilians and Guard members to have sanitized, safe water.

"I am ensuring that the Hippos are mission ready for Soldiers to roll them out to each site," said Morales. "I do rounds at each site to verify that they are chlorinated, have the proper pH balance and that there is no bacteria in them."

Pvt. Christopher Dixson, a logistical specialist from Alexandria, Louisiana, is helping distribute the water. "Helping down here feels great because both my dad and brother live here, and both had to evacuate for the storm," said Dixson.



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