Several Barry County residents have traveled to the Gulf Coast area to offer emergency response, clean-up and repair services in the aftermath of Hurricane Gustav, which struck Crocodrie, La., on Sept. 1.
Barry County Emergency Management Director David Compton has been dispatched to Beaumont, Texas, and four Barry Electric Cooperative employees have traveled to Greenwell Springs, La., to assist Gulf Coast residents.
"Over the last five days, I have been part of an evacuation mission responsible for evacuating hospitals and nursing homes in the Beaumont area," said Compton. "We also assisted with the presidential visit to San Antonio, Texas."
Over the Labor Day weekend, the task force Compton has been assigned to was responsible for transporting individuals from several hospitals and nursing homes in flooded areas to facilities in San Antonio and Tyler, Texas. Tuesday afternoon, Compton was awaiting a new mission assignment to assist with emergency response efforts in southern Louisiana.
"We originally came down with 15 ambulances from Cox Medical and Abbott Ambulance, which is based in St. Louis," said Compton. "We have been traveling in a convoy of 15 ambulances but today we will be breaking into three teams with five ambulances and 15 people each.
"We will be supporting a medical mission that will help the part of Louisiana that has been experiencing flooding," said Compton. "We hope to be able to relieve existing ambulance services in the Orange, La., area."
Last week, Louisiana residents were bracing for a Class 4 or Class 5 hurricane. At that time, Barry County Disaster Committee members prepared to offer shelter assistance locally and in Springfield.
"They had predicted that they would be evacuating several hundred thousand people," said Amy Patillo, Barry County Disaster Committee member. "We had volunteers ready to go up to Springfield to man the shelters if needed."
When Hurricane Gustav made landfall at 9:30 a.m. on Monday, the National Hurricane Center in Miami, Fla., downgraded the storm's classification to a Class 2 hurricane. Due to the decreased strength of the storm, Missouri was not listed as an evacuation site.
Although Hurricane Gustav did not bring as much destruction as earlier predicted, over 95,000 customers living in the Greenwell Springs, La., area lost power during the storm, said Bill Shiveley, Barry Electric general manager and chief executive officer.
Barry Electric linemen Albert Pendergraft, Greg Tiche-nor, Tim Thompson and Johnie Hendrix travelled to Greenwell Springs, La., early Tuesday morning.
"As of today, they are expecting to be gone 10 days," said Shiveley. "They took a digger and a bucket truck with them. They will be setting poles and stringing wire to restore services to Louisiana residents."
In 2005, Barry Electric sent seven linemen to help restore power to a devastated Gulf Coast region after Hurricane Katrina.