PRC NJROTC cadets provide assistance to NOLA tornado victims

Published 7:00 am Tuesday, February 21, 2017

PRC NJROTC cadets finish clearing debris at a tornado victim's household in East New Orleans.

PRC NJROTC cadets finish clearing debris at a tornado victim’s household in East New Orleans.

On Saturday, the Pearl River Central Naval Junior ROTC cadets strapped on their tool belts and headed to New Orleans East to rally with the Samaritan’s Purse who assisted people in households suffering from recent tornado damage. Col. Todd Ryder, Senior Naval Science Instructor said this was a special event for his cadets.
“They demonstrated so much energy and glee throughout the event that the Samaritan’s Purse representative came up to us and said, ‘this is the best group of volunteers of any kind that I have seen,’” Ryder said.
Once the cadets arrived at The Household of Faith in New Orleans, they were given tickets detailing a household in need of assistance.
The cadets primarily picked up heavy debris in homeowners’ lawns and adjacent areas, Ryder said. In the eight hours they were on-site Saturday, the PRC NJROTC managed to help eight households.
“These kids did so well. Not only did they complete all of their tasks, they went above and beyond to spread enthusiasm and optimism to all of those suffering in East New Orleans,” Ryder said.
The PRC NJROTC has assisted victims of natural disasters multiple times this year, including those affected by flooding in Baton Rouge and tornado damage in Hattiesburg. But when the PRC NJROTC initially arrived in New Orleans, Ryder described the destruction as “startling.”
“You could see where the massive power lines were ripped down. The visuals were shocking because you could literally see the tornado’s path,” he said.
Although the scenery was not beautiful, the attitudes and work ethic each cadet brought was, Ryder said.
“I didn’t have to push the kids at all. They were happy workers and that charisma really spread across each household we helped. I don’t know where they get that positive attitude but it definitely represents the demographic in Pearl River County,” Ryder said.
Although the cadets went through hours of heavy lifting and non-stop labor, they learned many valuable lessons.
“At first, it was shocking to see the amount of people that were devastated, but it made me happy to not only help one home, but many others. It gave them hope, and that was what the event was all about,” PRC NJROTC Cadet Chasitie Ulmer said.
Also, Ulmer said that the experience has helped her realize no one is safe from a natural disaster.
“There will always be volunteers like us across the whole nation that will come to help and support those suffering with no questions asked,” Ulmer said.

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