JBSA-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas —
Sailors at the Navy Medicine Training Support Center, or NMTSC, at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston delivered supplies to Lafayette, La., Sept. 24 after collecting goods and donations for those hardest hit by the devastating floods in their neighboring state.
After torrential downpours flooded a large portion of Louisiana in August, 13 people died and several thousand were misplaced when their homes flooded, prompting the Sailors to take action to help.
“Once we found out what was going on in Louisiana, we just came together and coordinated with the First Class Association and other associations like the junior enlisted association to collect funds and contact local stores here to see if we could get support,” said Petty Officer 1st Class April Hambrick, Basic Medical Technician Corpsman Program, or BMTCP, instructor who helped coordinate the drive.
What Hambrick and her shipmates also found out was that 20 of the parishes in the southern half of Louisiana were designated as federal disaster areas by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, and the flood was declared by the Red Cross to be the worst natural disaster to hit the United States in four years.
Hambrick contacted many stores in the community and several businesses donated pallets of bottled water.
Overall, the donation drive collected 3,840 bottles of water and more than 150 pounds of non-perishable food items, clothing and cleaning supplies.
“It was a need of the people, a community. Our job is to always give back, especially when you have a chance to,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Emanuel Floyd, another BMTCP instructor who coordinated the drive and helped drive the donations to Louisiana. “It makes you feel good that you accomplished something that day. You never know when you might be in that other position of someone who might be in need. I would want somebody to do the same thing for me.”
The donation drive hit close to home for some, said Hambrick.
“Some of our students are from Louisiana and when I mentioned to them what we were doing, they were just in awe that we were coming together,” she said. “So they were willing to come together and donate as well. It’s knowing we’re all helping each other out because we’re all a family here, and it also effected some of the people that you know as well.”
Floyd agreed the opportunity to help out a community was rewarding and well worth the effort.
“It was fulfilling,” he said. “It makes you feel good. I know we do a big thing here, leadership-wise as instructors, but it was really good to say, ‘Hey. I did something today. I really impacted the world.’”
NMTSC Sailors make concerted efforts to support the local communities in any way they can as many believe it is their duty as service members.
“People look up to us,” Hambrick said. “We’re out fighting in this uniform and there are a lot of things that go on around the world. So instead of us just going outside of the country to support other countries, we can also be here to support ours.”
The Sailors delivered the donations to the United Way in Lafayette to be distributed to families in the community.