By Sgt. David Erskine, South Carolina National GuardOctober 23, 2019
COLUMBIA, S.C. -- Two South Carolina National Guard members delivered needed supplies to Bahamian victims of Hurricane Dorian in five flights on a small plane.
U.S. Army 2nd Lt. Sam Evans, 1-118th Infantry Battalion, Bravo Company platoon leader, and U.S. Army 2nd Lt. William "Cole" Sanford Jr., Charlie Company, 1-151st Attack Reconnaissance Battalion platoon leader, found the opportunity to volunteer via an online forum from a group saying they had organized the collection of supplies, but needed pilots and planes to fly them to the Bahamas.
"I reached out to get more details, and asked Sanford if he was interested in making the relief trips with me, to which he said yes," said Evans.
Hurricane Dorian inflicted heavy damage on the Bahamas Aug. 24, killing at least 50 people and leaving about 70,000 people homeless.
Evans, a graduate of Embry Riddle Aeronautical University and ROTC cadet, obtained his private pilot license before commissioning and then returned to South Carolina. Sanford, a graduate of Wofford College in South Carolina and ROTC cadet, got his private pilot's license for a single-engine, land and fixed-wing aircraft while attending school.
The two flew back and forth from South Florida to the Bahamas five times in September on a two-seat single-engine prop 1943 Luscombe Silvaire, delivering more than 500 pounds of toiletries, tents and MREs.
"We were limited on space and weight," said Evans. "We could take about 100 pounds of supplies each trip, and would pack aid into every space possible."
"At the end of the day, what we did was small," said Sanford. "But it felt good that the toiletries and other things that we brought could be helping someone. It may just have been a pick-me-up for someone who had just lost their house."
Sanford has his eyes set on flight school. Evans is pursuing his commercial license.
"It was something I will definitely remember. It was the first time I've done something like this and flown over the ocean," said Sanford. "When someone asks, 'What were you doing last month?' I can say 'I was flying down to the Bahamas delivering supplies.'"