home about email troops current news troops say thanks contact site map
Show Your Support Program Materials America Reaches Out Kids Take Action The Troops Respond
America Reaches Out - News Articles
Three States Respond to Spring Floods

By Staff Sgt. S. Patrick McCollum/National Guard Bureau

ARLINGTON, Va., May 12, 2009 - Adverse weather is affecting Kentucky, West Virginia and Alaska, and the National Guard is helping with relief efforts there.

Flooding prompted West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin III to declare a state of emergency for more than six counties.

Guardmembers of the 111th Engineering Brigade are helping in two of those counties – Mingo and Wyoming – where a steady rainfall combined with a recent thunderstorm has caused mudslides and flooded homes and roads. These mudslides plugged tributary runoffs, causing a fast rise in the water level. This has stranded citizens of these rural, southern West Virginia counties in their homes.

“This was fast-water flooding as opposed to the slow rise of a river or creek,” said Lt. Col. Michael Cadle, a spokesman for the West Virginia National Guard.

Guardmembers from the 111th are clearing roadways, sending patrols to examine access issues, and bringing provisions to residents isolated by the storm. The Guard has also conducted four Medevac helicopter flights to stranded residents in need.

However, said Cadle, access is the first priority.

“We’re primarily trying to restore access to the affected areas,” he said. “Once access is restored, we’ll get into more debris
clearing and transportation issues."

Residents are grateful for the assistance of the Guard.

"It looks like a war zone," Vivian Livingood, the mayor of Gilbert, W.V., told local media. "Thank God the National Guard is here."

Meanwhile, more than 100 Kentucky Guardmembers are helping more than 10,000 citizens left without power in the eastern part of that state after recent tornadoes and flooding.

Soldiers from the 617th Military Police Company and the 201st Engineer Battalion are providing law enforcement, food and shelter assistance, and wellness checks in seven counties.

“The focus yesterday was passing out bottled water, doing welfare checks and conducting transportation for civilians,” said 1st Lt. Stephen Martin, a spokesman for the Kentucky Guard.

The Alaska Guard is also responding to the flooding of the Yukon River near Eagle, Alaska, where Gov. Sarah Palin declared a state of emergency May 6.

Guard personnel are being dispatched for at least 14 days with trucks carrying clean, potable water for residents in need.