KINGSLAND, Texas--Texas Guard members from the 372nd Combat Sustainment Support Battalion helped the victims of flash floods in the Highland Lakes area, October 2018 by handing out water, ice and removing debris from a house.
Kingsland sits where the Colorado and Llano Rivers meet.
"I called up my boss and said I was needed elsewhere," Pvt. Phillip Hiebert, the unit's chaplain's assistant said. "When we were coming down here I thought we were going to be wading in water."
Though his expectations were not met, Hiebert found joy in meeting the community members at a distribution point, working with local entities and handing out necessary supplies.
"The main focus for us it to make sure residents are able to carry on the best they can," Hiebert said. "Seeing the smiles on their faces makes all of this worth it."
"Many of the lower enlisted soldiers still haven't drilled with the unit," Texas Guardsman Sgt. Mark Atkins, a chemical specialist with the unit said. "A call went out from our command and they were ready to step up."
Atkins commented while his job specific training was not needed, he and his colleagues were soldiers first. This mindset helped prepare him to serve the community in any way necessary.
While the primary mission of the 372nd was to assist local entities man the points of distribution for supplies, a secondary opportunity was available. Volunteers from the unit cleared fallen tree limbs and debris from a home just down the street from the area where the soldiers were.
The soldiers adjusted their work plan in order to assist a person get into their home while still maintaining their objective. The community member was pleased and showed his appreciation for the Guardsmen by returning later with some baked goods.
"It's really amazing to see how the community is stepping up to show their appreciation," said 1st Lt. Lauren Binkley. "They continuously come to show their gratitude for what we are doing."
Binkley, who served as a platoon leader during the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, was ready to take on the extra challenges with this disaster. Her experiences readied her to coordinate resources with the other entities present.
"Working with sheriff deputies, constables and the Red Cross have been pretty smooth," Binkley said. "The reason why we all serve is to help our neighbors."
The unit accompanied local law enforcement and first responders and the Texas A&M Forest Service.
Binkley's appreciation for the community matched that of Atkins and Hiebert.
"We have had people just drive up and have prayer circles, give us cookies and get out of their cars to thank us with a hug," Binkley said.