Cajun Navy Volunteers Sandy Reeves, Christie Smith-Cammareri, Janice Wynn O-Dell and Vicki Kelley

Janice Wynn O’Dell grew up in southeast Texas and experienced several hurricanes, but she never had to evacuate until Hurricane Rita came along. While her home had minimal damage from that storm, her family was forced to evacuated once again for Ike. This time, they came home to find their house flooded. Thankfully, sandbags that they put out prevented the home from flooding a second time when Harvey made his appearance. Then last year it was during Hurricane Michael when Janice’s daughter, Vicki Kelley, told her about Cajun Navy Foundation. They both decided to jump in as volunteers.

Janice started out vetting rescue tickets on Noggin. Most of the contacts she made were with family that lived out of state. They had not been able to reach their family members who had stayed in the area of destruction. During this time, Janice talked to numerous people who were frantically searching for their family members.

Among many, one particular family and their incredible story has stayed with Janice. While vetting tickets, Janice had reached out to a woman whose parents were in another state. The woman explained to Janice during a phone call that the last time she had spoken with her mother, her father was turning gray. He had not been in the best of health, and the couple was hopelessly trapped in their house by downed trees.

Janice remembered, “I had the ticket prioritized and was relieved to find out later that the CNF BOGs had been able to cut their way into the area and reach their home. They got the parents to medical and her father was going to be alright. I called the daughter to let her know. She was so relieved that she started to cry – and I have to admit, I did, as well.”