West Columbia, SC (WLTX) – South Carolina Department of Natural Resources officers are headed to Texas to help Hurricane Harvey survivors.
“I was able to go to Katrina. I was able to work the flooding here in South Carolina, and I’ve been ready to go. When it happens you just, that’s what you want to do,” Lt. D.J. Riley explained passionately.
Riley is one of 28 officers making the 15-hour trek to East Texas to assist with search and rescue efforts.
“You’re leaving your home. You’re leaving your wife, children. The routine of things are going to change, right now we’re being prepared for staying for two weeks that could turn longer so you don’t know,” the lieutenant said. “We’re going to go try to make a difference.”
The group packed up 11 boats and several trucks with supplies before leaving Thursday morning.
Texas Parks and Wildlife requested their assistance.
“We’ll have our cook trailer that we’ll be carrying. Everything we have so we can be self-sufficient. We have to because we really don’t know exactly what we will run into when we get there,” DNR Executive Director Alvin Taylor said.
Taylor said he remembers the generous outpouring South Carolina received during the 2015 flood and Hurricane Matthew.
“People were coming from all over the country here to help us in South Carolina now it’s our turn to go to Texas,” Taylor said. “And all of these officers are excited. They’re ready to go. We have many that aren’t going and saying 'can I go?' You know they’re ready for the next wave if that happens and so we’re very very proud of our officers for their efforts.”
“It’s demanding physically and mentally on myself and our officers but it’s also very rewarding when you get the hugs from a person, a child or an elderly person that’s less fortunate to help themselves that makes all the difference in the world,” Riley said.
The group shared a couple of prayers together before heading out.