National Guard, Legion continue efforts to aid Texas hurricane victims as Irma bears down on Florida

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National Guard, Legion continue efforts to aid Texas hurricane victims as Irma bears down on Florida

Hurricane Harvey’s wrath is hitting home in Texas, meanwhile Irma is taking aim at Puerto Rico and Florida. National Guard and other servicemembers are working on recovery, just as American Legion posts are getting a more welcome flood in the form of goods sent by other Legionnaires across the country.

But first, amidst all the devastation, lost homes, and financial ruin, one can still find signs of patriotism:

In a heartwarming gesture, a 4-year-old Texas boy greeted the National Guard with a show of patriotism.

J.W. Claburn held up an American flag as soon as he saw the National Guard pulling into his neighbor’s home in Richmond, Texas, on Wednesday.

National Guardsmen were in the area picking up people who wanted to evacuate after a nearby river began flooding due to Hurricane Harvey.

Wes Claburn said he wasn’t surprised at his son’s gesture as he’s always taught him the importance of the military.

“He’s just a sweet and good-hearted kid. He knew it was the military and he knows what the flag represents,” Claburn told “He went and grabbed the flag and started waving it for the National Guardsmen.”

Be sure to go to the link above to see J.W. as he waves his flag, it is indeed heart warming.

As for the military response, it is overwhelming:

As the remnants of Hurricane Harvey pull away from Texas into the Mississippi Delta, the U.S. military’s efforts to assist in rescue and relief continues to grow and evolve. Each service now has units involved, and some have been carrying out rescue operations for days….

As for what they are doing:

The initial response to the storm and its historic flooding was primarily based on an obvious factor: geography. The Coast Guard, for example, has an air station on the southeastern outskirts of Houston and has been busy with rescue operations from the beginning. The entire Texas National Guard was quickly activated, and other military units from Fort Hood, Tex., to Galveston, where the Marine Corps has a unit of tracked amphibious vehicles, joined the effort.

But the effort is now much broader than that and includes units from across the country. In one example, the amphibious ships USS Kearsarge and USS Oak Hill left port in Norfolk on Thursday. They are expected to steam around Florida into the Gulf of Mexico in coming days.

Additional forces joining the effort have specialized missions. The Air Force has sent about 1,000 airmen and 30 aircraft. They include helicopters, at least one tanker plane and an E-8 JSTARS, a surveillance plane that can gather detailed information about conditions on the ground.

The Navy also has helicopters flying rescue missions and a P-8 Poseidon surveillance plane that is usually deployed for reconnaissance and finding submarines underseas.

The Texas National Guard is bearing the brunt of most operations, and this is an excellent video that shows the breadth of that involvement, from delivering goods to air rescue and more:

And rest assured, The American Legion is helping out as well:

Over the past week, the victims of Hurricane Harvey have seen what The American Legion Family is capable of and how it supports communities in times of need. Truckloads of food and toiletries have been donated and delivered by Legion family members from across the country to aid in relief and recovery efforts, while several posts in Texas have kept their doors open to serve as shelters and donation centers.

“People are stepping up to help, and we really, really appreciate it,” said Department of Texas Adjutant Bill West.

Last weekend, Department of Alabama Commander Donna Stacey, Adjutant Greg Akers and other Alabama Legion family leadership drove five 26-foot trucks filled with clothing, water, generators, cleaning supplies, diapers, food and more for distribution efforts that are currently underway at four posts in Texas. Legion family members are currently organizing the items and delivering everything to community members in need. These posts that are providing supply and distribution efforts are:

  • South Houston Inc. Post 490, 11702 Galveston Road in Houston
  • Edward H. White II Post 521, 2221 Preston in Pasadena
  • David H. Mc Nerney Post 658, 14890 FM 2100 in Crosby
  • League City Post 554, 1650 Hwy. 3 South in League City

And Dorie E. Miller Post 817 in Beaumont is providing water relief efforts as the demand for it in the community is high. Third District Commander Pat Taylor recently delivered 300 cases of water to Post 817 for Legion family members to distribute, with more water donations scheduled. Past Department of Texas Auxiliary President Christine Trahan has been collecting school supplies for children and helping to clothe and feed evacuees in Lumberton, Vidor and Beaumont with assistance from Legion family members across the state. District 7 provided 700 pounds of brisket, while other donations from Legion family members have included water, utensils and dairy products. Trahan thanked Department of Texas Commander John Hince for his efforts in providing relief to victims, and she asked him to “please hug the Legion family for me.”

"The one thing that I want to make clear is that this has all been the Legion family. Everybody is working together," said Hince.

Follow Hince on his Facebook page HERE to stay informed of Legion posts serving as donation and distribution centers and relief items needed.

Donations to support Legion Family and posts affected by the hurricane can be made online here to the Legion's National Emergency Fund, which provides grants of up to $3,000 to eligible Legion family members and $10,000 to Legion posts. Checks can also be sent to American Legion National Emergency Fund, P.O. Box 1954, Indianapolis, IN 46206.

It looks like this will be a rehearsal for Irma in Florida as well, as that Hurricane is setting records already, and looks to hit the state in the next couple of days.

Thoughts and prayers to any affected by these devastating hurricanes, and if you have a few spare dollars consider donating to the Emergency Fund, as The American Legion will always be there when it is needed in times of natural disaster.

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Whenever and wherever tragedies and disasters occur, everyone shares them. They unite our nation into action. When things go bad, the good in America rings out true and clear. When the worst occurs, it brings out the best in us. We are a nation of givers. We not only give money and material, we give of ourselves. We are healers, helpers and teachers -shining examples for the rest of the world. We are friends for other nations to lean on. We are guiding lights for the rest of the world to follow. We are Americans.

Blessed Are Those Who Give
Blessed are those who give their lives for what they believe, for they will one day receive glory with God in heaven.
Blessed are those who grieve and mourn, for they will one day know a joy beyond earthly measure.
Blessed are those who dare to rebuild from the ashes of disasters, for they will one day see their visions manifested.
Blessed are those who risk their lives to help another, for they will one day be exalted as angels.
Blessed are those who keep order amidst chaos, for they will one day know a peace that passes all understanding.
Blessed are those who pray for their fellow citizens, for they will one day find their own prayers answered.
Blessed are those who donate their time, money and life blood to save others, for they will one day be rewarded with the bounty of heaven.
Blessed are those who keep love alive even in the midst of hatred and fear, for one day they will know the greatest love of all in the arms of God.

" A loving Heart is the Truest Wisdom ."
Charles Dickens

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News from the World of Military and Veterans Issues. Iraq and A-Stan in parenthesis reflects that the author is currently deployed to that theater.