In the days following a disaster, Cajun Navy Foundation dispatchers interact with countless family members searching for their loved ones. Once they are found safe, they may not connect again. It’s not every day that the volunteers get a chance to have a conversation with those they were able to assist. One of those rare opportunities recently presented itself on CNF’s Zello channel, when one woman reached out to thank them for checking on her mother in Panama City.
One of the volunteers on Zello at the time was Sandy Reeves. Sandy volunteered as boots on the ground during Hurricane Harvey, and is currently a dispatcher. When Michael hit the Florida Panhandle, she handled numerous calls for assistance. One of them came from Darcy, in Alabama. Darcy had lost contact with her 70-year-old mother, and it had been two days since they had talked.
Darcy’s mother had decided to remain in her home in Panama City during the storm. The last time they talked, her mother was taking refuge underneath a mattress and could feel the house lifting up and down. Their connection was lost, leaving Darcy feeling more than concerned.
Darcy filled out a form at CrowdRelief.net and as soon as possible, boots on the ground were sent to check on her. Volunteers Mike Koutsoukos and Matt Clark went to the house and learned from neighbors that Darcy’s mom was ok and sleeping, Word that she was safe went out to Sandy, and was passed on to Darcy.
Several weeks later, Darcy visited the CNF Zello channel to say thank you.
Darcy told them who she was and said, “I didn’t hear from my mom for three days, and guess who found her? The Cajun Navy! So now I’m doing anything I can to help y’all out because you guys are amazing. If I could meet any of those guys who checked on my mama, I would just hug their necks and tell them, ‘Thank you so much!'”
It turned out that Darcy was talking to one of those helpers. She learned that Sandy had been the dispatcher who took her call when she was looking for her mother. Sandy contacted Mike, one of the men who went to check on Darcy’s mother, and he joined in on the conversation.
“We made a lot of calls where it was just literally people saying, ‘Yeah, we’re all right’; and to us it doesn’t seem like much of an impact,” said Mike. “But I guess when the word gets back to family that their loved one is ok, that’s a big deal. So I’m happy to hear it. Sandy did all the work, and told us where to go. She deserves a big thank you.”
Sandy responded, “I’m glad we could make this connection. We don’t always hear about it after the fact. It’s good to hear about how people are doing; and to have their thanks and their blessings that they send to us, to keep us doing what we’re doing.”
Darcy’s mom spoke from her heart to all the Cajun Navy Foundation volunteers.
“If you ever doubt that what you do is worthwhile, here’s one small voice from the woods saying, ‘Yes. Ma’am… Yes, Sir… It matters.”
Tears of gratitude came, followed by a silent pause. Then Darcy announced that she and her mother plan to rebuild.
“The Panhandle is strong. We’re from all over, but we take care of each other. We’re going to help our brothers and sisters,” Darcy proclaimed.
Her mother added, “We get by with a little help from our friends…”
Cajun Navy Foundation desperately needs volunteers. Please visit CrowdRelief.net to see how you can help your brothers and sisters in the disaster-affected areas.