Hurricane Matthew relief with the Civil Air Patrol part 3

At the POD we handed out pallets of water and food, all while sometimes not receiving water and food ourselves. When we did get some food, it was from the Salvation Army in a to go box. The food sustained, but it wasn’t mom’s cooking of a primo hog/cow from our own farm, hot off the stove and tasty. It was neat to see Spork experience what food can be like and get a comparison from what he knows as “normal” food and what the rest of the world thinks is normal. We did make sure he had his favorite food when he got home (Chinese pork ribs with rice, from our pigs of course!)

After working a few hours at the POD, then packing everything up and cleaning up, we headed back to the county emergency operations center (EOC). This is where all the powers that be converge to coordinate all response to the disaster. Troopers, Sheriffs, Fire and rescue, shelters, Red Cross, EMTs, hospitals, and CAP (plus many more) were there. Everyone works together to utilize their assets as best they can. The EOC is the heart of the response and is a busy place.

Once we left the EOC, we progressed to a local school that had been set up as a shelter. The cadets all grabbed a football and started playing a fun game of football. The senior members were all worn out but the cadets were still going strong and having a large time. Eventually we came in for a debrief where the major theme from the cadets present was that they enjoyed the day and had had fun. Fun?!

Folks, these kids had stood in the sun most of a day, humping cases of water and food as fast as they could go. They never received proper breaks, resting in between cars when it slowed down. When we tried to get them to take breaks, they refused and jumped back into the line to work if someone pulled up. Between cars, they talked to the deputy sheriffs and the guardsmen, soaking up knowledge. To everyone it was yes sir, yes ma’am. They were unfailingly polite and always attentive and helpful to the military, the police, and to the civilians.

Except for Spork, all were there without their parents. All of this is volunteer. No pay, no recognition. If you weep for our youth, you need to attend a CAP meeting and feel restored. I certainly did. These kids ROCK! But now it was time to bed down for the night. But that’s our next post.

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