Southeast Texas relief groups prepare for hurricane season


BEAUMONT, Texas — Although we don’t have tropical weather in the forecast at this time, Southeast Texans know that being prepared is the best way to weather storms when they do arrive.

They said the best way for them to prepare in advance was to bring in volunteers.

“We’re on the ground before the winds die down,” said Ground Force Founder and CEO Rob Gaudet.

When disaster strikes, rescue teams like the Cajun Navy Ground Force spring into action.

“We call ourselves Ground Force because we’re on the ground 99% of the time, just to help out,” Gaudet said.

Gaudet said if a storm were to hit tomorrow, his crews are ready to help. The key to their operations is trained volunteers.

“Last minute efforts like this, while very noble and valiant, sometimes end up being a logistical nightmare,” said Ken Turner of Gulf SAR.

Turner said they train and certify their volunteers before sending them out.

“For us, safety is the number one priority. We don’t put anyone on a boat unless they’ve been trained,” Turner said.

And to have time to train them, they are now recruiting volunteers.

“Rescue work, police work, firefighters, law enforcement, all of that type of work definitely aligns with the goals that we’re trying to pursue,” Turner said.

The same goes for the Cajun Navy. Gaudet said their volunteers are split into three programs.

“Our goal is to be that organization that stays to help people in any way we can until they feel like they have their feet on the ground,” Gaudet said.

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