A Poulsbo-based disaster relief team is heading not to Houston or another big city hit by Hurricane Harvey but to the Texas-Louisiana border to help smaller communities, which are sometimes overlooked in times of need.
“Okay, let’s go. These people need help. I’m seeing the posts on Facebook. We’re all seeing the news. We all just want to get there,” Empact Northwest team leader Kelly Melton said.
The nonprofit international disaster relief team was formed in Poulsbo in 2010 after the earthquake in Haiti, and is made up of firefighters, paramedics, and other volunteers. In the past seven years, the seven-person team has been deployed to countries such as the Philippines, Sierra Leone, Japan, among others, and helped thousands of people.
“The idea is we serve underserved communities on the outlying areas,” logistics coordinator Sil Wong-Underwood said.
This time, a local fire department invited the team to help, potentially with water rescues in small towns between Beaumont, Texas and Lake Charles, Louisiana.
“It's nice to know people we're targeting during this trip is going to those small communities and reaching out and getting resources that may not get that federal attention. That Houston is going to get,” Melton said.
The team leaves Monday morning and will be aiding until at least Friday.