TALLAHASSEE — The Army National Guard has stationed themselves on the campus of Florida A&M University (FAMU). Specifically located in the Bragg Memorial Stadium parking lot, the Army National Guard said they are here to help as best they can for Leon County after the devastating natural disaster, Hurricane Michael.
The Florida panhandle, including the city of Tallahassee, was hit by a category four hurricane less than two weeks ago. The aftermath of Hurricane Michael left families homeless, homes destroyed and 36 deaths which are still rising according to CNN.
Sgt. Jones, an active Army member and the 46th Engineer Battalion said they were sent here by the government. Their mission is to help with the Hurricane Relief Aid and Sgt. Jones said they aren’t leaving until Leon County is in good shape.
“We’re here to help out with FEMA and the Red Cross for those who were affected by Hurricane Michael,” said Sgt. Jones.
According to Sgt. Jones the government requested for the National Guard along with other Army troops to help out with the aftermath Oct. 10th and the mission was declared on Oct. 11th.
The National Guard arrived on FAMU’s campus Monday, Oct. 15th. Sgt. Jones said they came to Leon County and stationed themselves on FAMU’s campus for more public assisting and moving heavy debris off the roads.
“Leon County has a lot of big Oak Trees and different kinds of trees in general, so we came with our heavy duty equipment to move the trees and debris out of the roads, so the citizens could get around a little better and safer,” said Sgt. Jones.
Cierra Thomas, a former ROTC student and a Cadet in the Army Reserve said, The National Guard being placed in Bragg Memorial Stadium parking lot shows that they care for the citizens on the south side community and that they have a lot of space to do what they need to do.
“With them being stationed on FAMU’s campus gives them ample amount of space to do recovery drills and to make sure nearby students and the surrounding community are well taken care of,” said Cadet Thomas.
Two years ago, the city of Tallahassee experienced Hurricane Hermine that made landfall as a category one storm. Even though Hermine was a category one hurricane it came with 64mph winds, that led to a lot of uprooted trees and weeks worth of power outages in Leon County.
“I’m honestly so happy the National Guard is here to help out because what my family and I went through during the 2016 hurricane was devastating. We lost a car because a huge tree fell on top of it and we were out of power for 8 days. Never again,” said Kyla Brown, a Psychology student and also a Southside resident.
Sgt. Jones explained that the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program will help provide assistance for the actions taken to prevent or reduce long-term risk to life and property from a natural disaster and is also 75 percent federal funding.
“All counties in the state of Florida are eligible to apply for assistance under the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program,” Sgt. Jones said.
The National Guard is stationed all throughout the panhandle including counties from Bay, Calhoun, Franklin, Gadsden, Madison and many others.
Leon County has its own Florida Army National Guard station located off Easterwood Dr.