PANAMA CITY, Florida - Florida National Guard Soldiers from the 53rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 2-124 Charlie Co., support hurricane relief efforts by providing food and water to citizens Oct. 13.
"So far it has been very productive," said Staff Sgt. Terrance A. Francis, 53rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 2-124 Charlie Co. "We've been able to reach out to the local people and give them a spark of hope by providing food and water to them."
The 2-124 Charlie Co. runs two locations, Rosenwald High School and Parker Elementary. The flow of traffic into the sites remains steady. Cadet Lance M. Talman said approximately 750 people at the Parker Elementary school location were served prior to lunchtime.
The FLNG operates nine points of distribution in Panama City for food and water relief to the local citizens. At each POD, there are approximately 20 Soldiers operating the site from morning to night. Each site receives continuous replenishment of resources from truckers waiting at logistic staging areas, LSAs, located around the impact zone. The Soldiers remain at the site overnight to provide security for the supplies as well as ensure prompt distribution at 7:00 a.m.
"This could happen to anybody, even me," said Spc. Jeffery Simon 53rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 2-124 Charlie Co. "[Distributing food and water] is of great importance to me, I can see how the people of Panama City have been affected. They need help and that is what we are here for, I would hope the National Guard would help my family if something like this happened in my hometown."
The 53rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team Soldiers are also clearing roads, setting up communication systems and working with local, state and federal emergency officials to protect the lives and property of the citizens of the panhandle.
The FLNG is always ready and always there. They will stay until the mission is complete and the residents of the panhandle are on the road to recovery.