Gonzales, Louisiana (September 20, 2021) As part of the Arkansas-Oklahoma Incident Command, Planning Chief, Captain Bradley Hargis of Fort Smith, Arkansas, and Liaison Officer, Captain Nic Arroqui of Stillwater, Oklahoma, are not often in the field serving disaster survivors. The Incident Command team, based in Gonzales, Louisiana is overseeing the feeding operation as well as distribution of goods in southern Louisiana.
The Liaison Officer acts as The Salvation Army’s representative, relaying information, requesting resources to support Salvation Army operations, and processing mission assignments tasked to The Salvation Army by emergency management personnel. The Planning Chief assists the Incident Commander by managing the flow of information and reporting, supporting The Salvation Army’s overall disaster response in the area. Both are key roles in the execution of delivery of services.
On Saturday, the Captains were able to step away from their assigned roles for a while and went out to provide food boxes and clean-up kits to an underserved population in St. James Parish that Captain Arroqui found while out checking an area recommended by emergency management.
“It was rewarding to connect to the people for whom we are planning services,” says Captain Hargis. “To be able to meet some of the locals really puts action to our planning within the Incident Command Team.”
Captain Arroqui states, “It was an encouragement to us to be able to see those we serve be so appreciative in spite of the desperate circumstances in which they find themselves.”
The supplies were handed out door-to-door in a neighborhood which experienced extreme devastation because of Hurricane Ida. While handing the items out, Captains Arroqui and Hargis were able to pray with some of those who had lost everything.
One of the persons the Captains came across was Patricia, who had leukemia, yet just continued to repeat “God is good” portraying her faith that all will be well. Another, Jerry, was just so very happy to see The Salvation Army serving their neighborhood.
Since Hurricane Ida tore through parts of Louisiana, The Salvation Army’s Gonzales, Louisiana command post has provided 264,912 hot meals, 76,795 snacks, and 119,253 drinks to hurricane survivors, first responders, and other crews working to restore services to those affected. Additionally, 17,332 persons have been provided emotional and spiritual care.
To make a financial donation to support ongoing Hurricane Ida relief efforts, go to helpsalvationarmy.org or call 1-800-SAL-ARMY. For the latest disaster response information, go to www.disaster.salvationarmyusa.org and watch for regular updates on our social media pages at www.facebook.com/salarmyaok and www.twitter.com/SalArmyAOKEDS.