It took less than 24 hours after Hurricane Laura’s landfall for American Legion posts outside the devastated areas to jump in to help.
And the help is still coming.
Laura made landfall as a Category 4 hurricane at Cameron, La., on Aug. 27, and left a wake of destruction across Louisiana and eastern Texas.
By the following Saturday, a group of Legion posts in Houston — Posts 52, 77, 164, 319, 416, 490 and 521 — had already collected enough water, tarps, food and cleaning supplies to take a truckload to Lake Charles, La., among the hardest hit areas after Laura.
“We’re really excited about being able to help, to be a resource, and to see what the needs are,” Post 164 public relations officer Andy Valadez said in a video on the post’s Facebook page.
Post 164, 22125 Kingsland Blvd., Katy, Texas, is serving as a collection point for more donations, with another convoy scheduled to take those supplies to Louisiana on Sept. 5. Donation hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Sept. 4. Requested donations includes tarps, water, non-perishable food, first aid supplies, cleaning items, diapers, baby formula, and clothing for all ages.
Although located nearly 400 miles away from Cameron, La., where the storm made landfall, the community of Fairhope, Ala., quickly answered the call for supplies from American Legion Eastern Shore Post 199.
“We have requested that our local community, which has been very supportive to us, to donate bottled water, non-perishable food, personal hygiene items, cleaning supplies, pet food, and any other items that they can think of that will help those affected,” Post Commander Stacey Kulp said in an email the day after the Category 4 hurricane made landfall.
Post 199 is one of several posts across Alabama collecting donations. They are:
• Department of Alabama headquarters, 120 North Jackson St., Montgomery.
• Post 255, 3855 Old Black Creek Road, Birmingham.
• Post 88, 2663 Halls Mill Road, Mobile.
• Post 5, 3680 Hwy. 77, Gadsden.
• Post 73, 701 E. Lee St., Enterprise.
• Post 199, 700 S. Mobile St., Fairhope.
SAL Southern Region National Vice Commander Blair Miles said that on Sept. 11, items will be taken to Post 88, the state department’s staging area.
“We have hotels lined up and will be sending a convoy to Baton Rouge Saturday morning the 12th,” Miles said.
“It is very important for The American Legion from all levels to be the tip of the spear when it comes to helping during national disasters because we have been trained to run toward the danger not away from it,” Kulp said. “We are better at planning and executing in stressful situations.
“By leading the efforts to bring much needed help, we show not only the American people what we are about, it shows the younger veterans that they have a veterans organization that they can join and continue to serve and be a part of something bigger than themselves again.”