While working countless hours on relief efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, Rob Gaudet And Melissa Adair knew there was a new storm threatening to lash Florida and ultimately affect lives. On August 30th Irma was given a name and classification of tropical storm. The two founders of The Cajun Relief Foundation knew they wanted their organization to be involved and they got their chance when Rob received a phone call from Senator Marco Rubio. Senator Rubio had obviously seen the progress made in the Louisiana Floods of 2016 and now with Hurricane Harvey. Senator Rubio cut to the chase and told Rob, “Rob, this is Marco Rubio. Can you send the Cajun & Texas Navy?”
Without hesitation, the two sprang into action and started organizing a new group of citizens and a software to help tie it all together. The team at Noggin reached out and offered their next generation, cloud-based software for public safety and emergency management. It has allowed the Cajun Relief team to streamline information and intelligence from weather services, spatial data feeds, field officers, dispatch and BAU incident systems, other agencies, social media, and many more sources to provide better situational awareness and the ability to get resources to the hardest hit areas in a timely manner.
Transitioning from more of a search and rescue effort that was utilized during Harvey into a location triage and supply for Hurricane Irma hasn’t seemed to slow the group down any. Much headway has already been made with severely desperate locations being identified, specific supplies for these locations being donated, supply runs being made to these locations, and finally distribution of the goods to those in need. Team Tiger, a branch of The Cajun Relief Foundation, has been instrumental in this aspect and continues to be at the forefront during ongoing operations.
Additional fundraisers via the Cajun Relief Foundation are in place and being utilized as we speak. Currently you can visit http://cajunrelief.org/donations/donate-cajun-relief-foundation/ to donate online, you can visit the Amazon wish list to purchase items that have been identified as important needs at https://www.amazon.com/registry/wishlist/ZMC6YZ1VUP49/ref=cm_sw_r_fa , or you can get involved with the “Bucket Brigade” and donate supplies for the areas that were hit the hardest. The Bucket Brigade will be collecting donations at the Celebrate Community After Irma event being hosted by Madeira Beach Fire Department and the City of Madeira Beach.
This organization has consistently worked with local officials and state government to stay within all of the rules, regulations, and guidelines in order to maintain a healthy working relationship. In doing so, it has enabled them to continually connect with the people in the communities and provide the proper goods and services needed. It has also allowed them to obtain additional contacts and the ability to work with other organizations as a group effort to meet the needs of the people affected. In the end, it seems that the citizen-led group has accomplished exactly what they have set out to do so far. It’s ordinary people doing extraordinary things.
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