PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — After a nearly two-week deployment to Louisiana to help with Hurricane Ida relief efforts, a team of Bay County Sheriff’s Office deputies recently returned home.
Sergeant Jared Turner said everyone in Louisiana treated them well and adds their experience from Hurricane Michael helped them to be able to address the needs of the people in the Bayou State after Hurricane Ida.
Turner said he remembers driving into the darkness that first night.
“There was no street lights, no power, you know all the businesses you could tell the locations that had generators there were individual little houses that were lit up, but for the most part, you couldn’t see a whole lot of anything,” Turner said.
The darkness — a sight Turner said he remembers having gone through Hurricane Michael.
“It was kind of familiar in the sense that having been here after Hurricane Michael,” Turner said. “You know everything being dark certain houses being lit up, same thing with the generators. We knew what we were kind of getting into at that point. Everything was blacked out and dark.”
Turner said the damage couldn’t be seen until the next morning — during their 5 a.m. shift briefing at their basecamp in an elementary school parking lot.
“The school was damaged just like you would see some schools around here — roof down,” Turner said. “It had obviously been flooded we brought those big machines in to try to remedy some of the damage inside of it.”
He said the most impactful part of the deployment was helping people get back to a little bit of normalcy.
“We were getting people into the food distribution areas, being able to hand the food out, getting them directions to be able to get there, you know clearing the trees, clearing the roadways so people can get around, trying to get people back into the grocery stores, the Walmart — places where they could get the things they needed immediately afterwards,” Turner said.
Sergeant Turner said the people thanked the deputies for coming and asked them if they wanted to stay longer. He adds they were well taken care of during their time in Louisiana.