Coast Guardsmen: a helping hand in the aftermath

ATLANTIC BEACH, N.C.- Petty Officer 1st Class Jeffrey Goodrick removes water-logged insulation and rusted ductwork from underneath the foundation of a home Sept. 18, 2011 after the home was damaged by Hurricane Irene. In response to the hurricane, Coast Guard Sector North Carolina crewmembers and Coast Guard Auxiliary members worked together with the community to provide aid for people in need. U.S. Coast Guard Photo.

Post written by Cmdr. Derek Dorazio

As a result of Hurricane Irene, many people throughout North Carolina suffered extensive damage to their homes. Two of the hardest hit areas in the state were Dare and Pamlico counties.

Unfortunately, some people in these communities did not have proper flood or homeowner’s insurance and were otherwise ineligible for sufficient government assistance to restore their homes. Many were elderly and disabled, who were not physically able to help themselves.

After responding to the hurricane, Sector North Carolina personnel and our partners in the Coast Guard Auxiliary banded together with community groups to provide relief for those in need.

During August and September, more than 50 Coast Guardsmen from Sector North Carolina, Station Hatteras Inlet, Station Hobucken, Sector Field Office Fort Macon, Station Fort Macon and Engineering Services Division Fort Macon volunteered to remove debris and help repair homes devastated by Hurricane Irene. Station Hatteras Inlet personnel donated hundreds of hours during a six-week period while non-resident homeowners and visitors were not yet permitted back to North Carolina’s Outer Banks.

“They stepped up when the need was there,” stated Kenny Brite, the captain of the Avon Volunteer Fire Department in Dare County, referring to the Coast Guard volunteers.

Volunteers cleared branches and other obstructions to restore access to homes. After access was restored, volunteers performed the hard work of removing hundreds of pounds of water-logged insulation and rusted ductwork from the foundations of flooded homes, remediating immediate health and safety hazards for homeowners and clearing the way for new insulation and ductwork to be installed.

The process of repairing a home was known as a “mud-out”. It required volunteers to crawl in tight spaces underneath the home’s foundation through standing water, mud, insects and other hazards to remove the damaged insulation and ductwork. All debris was properly disposed of in accordance with applicable sanitation and environmental requirements.

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