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News // Nov 24, 2020

Impact Report: Helping Coast Guard Families in Lake Charles, Louisiana

  • Jennifer Crowley Fyke

When natural disasters strike, the Coast Guard Foundation is there to support Coast Guard members and families recover and rebuild from the destruction left behind.

This year in particular has been challenging for Coast Guard members in the path of many named hurricanes and tropical storms in the Gulf Coast and Florida, wildfires on the West Coast and a derecho storm in the Midwest.

Lake Charles is home to more than 300 Coast Guard families and many saw their homes destroyed by both Hurricane Laura and Hurricane Delta, which came through the area within five weeks of each other. These storms tore through the community and damaged homes and personal property causing great destruction to local infrastructure, paralyzing the electric grid and breaking the water supply.

The Coast Guard Foundation stepped up and provided disaster relief grants to 94 Coast Guard members impacted over the course of these two storms, and more broadly, rendered aid to 146 families, totaling more than $293,000 throughout the entire hurricane season and wildfires on the West Coast.

Our partnership with the Coast Guard Chief Petty Officers Association allows us to distribute grants in two days or less, so members don’t have to wait to begin repairs, pay for temporary housing, or replace household goods and basic life essentials.

“One thing we’ve seen, time and time again after each of these storms, is that our families have been cared for,” shared Rear Admiral John Nadeau, USCG District 8 Commander. “While our members have been focused on the mission, our families have been taken care of. For those impacted, the Foundation has been there for them. It’s so reassuring to know that whatever we need, the Foundation will be there.”

Working closely with a local Chief Petty Officers Association branch, the Coast Guard Foundation funded the purchase of chainsaws, blue tarps and other equipment so Coast Guard members could assist others in clean-up and securing properties while they waited for repairs to start. This “Coasties Helping Coasties” initiative brought swift relief and assistance directly into the impacted communities within days of the first hurricane’s landfall, and was deployed a second time when Hurricane Delta swept through the region.

“It was a game changer for us,” added Nadeau. “It really helped (members) get through the very difficult times they were facing.”

“Thank you all for what you have done to support us this year,” shared Command Master Chief Marques Johnson. “It has been a long year, and the Coast Guard Foundation has been there to support us.”

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Cover Photo Caption: Coast Guard Station New Orleans’ shallow water response boat team walks a flooded road in Erath, Louisiana, during the aftermath of Hurricane Laura, August 27, 2020. Coast Guard units were deployed to Lake Charles, Louisiana, and the surrounding vicinity in response to the Category 4 hurricane. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class John Michelli)

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