Ordinary Americans drop everything to lend Houston a helping hand

CBS Newspath

HOUSTON — Help for Houston hasn’t just come from FEMA and the National Guard but also hundreds of ordinary Americans who quickly dropped everything to lend a hand.

Tom Poe went to the airport in Milwaukee.

“They need help and I just want to get out there and help ‘em.”

Nathan Payne joined a convey of trucks in Kansas. Firefighters and police from across the country have headed to Texas along with hundreds of Red Cross volunteers.

But smaller groups and even individuals have been called on too, by no less than the head of the federal government’s emergency response.

“We need citizens to be involved,” said Brock Long.

And they are.

Michael Daniels drove to Houston from Fort Worth with a boat in tow. But once on the scene, helping can be complicated. First, volunteers actually have to find a way into the city.

“We’re not going to give up. We’ve got a boat, two kayaks, and a three-ton truck, so we will get there,” said Daniels.

He’ll soon be joined by hundreds of strangers from all over the country, including Lousiana’s Cajun Navy, a volunteer group formed following the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. What started off as 30 volunteers has quickly grown to thousands and the impact they have had is simply amazing.

Closer to home, 100 utility workers from Entergy Mississippi will leave Tuesday morning to help restore power to hundreds of thousands of people, while 80 first responders with Tennessee Task Force One perform water rescues for those left stranded.

The Mid-South chapter of the American Red Cross will be training disaster relief volunteers Tuesday at their office on Madison Avenue.

FEMA said they expect as many as 30,000 Houston residents will need temporary shelter.