Texas State Guard 8th Regiment Mobilizes During South Texas Flooding

Story by:  Warrant Officer Malana Nall, Public Affairs Officer, 8th Regiment, Texas State Guard

Posted: March 19, 2016

Shelter operations
Pvt. Eric Crosley and Pfc. Jesse Martinez, 8th Regiment, Texas State Guard, prepare additional cots for shelter guests at the mass care shelter at Lamar University, Beau-mont, Texas, March 17, 2016.  The 8th Regiment, Army Component, Texas State Guard, managed three shelters and provided food and a safe place to sleep to flood evacuees during the recent flooding.   (Photo by Staff Sgt. Mikel Stephens, 2nd Battalion, 8th Regiment, Texas State Guard/Released)

BEAUMONT, Texas - Soldiers from the 8th Regiment, Texas State Guard, mobilized to support the American Red Cross in opening three mass care shelter locations during the recent flooding in southeast Texas, March 16-20, 2016.

Texas State Guardsmen worked alongside partner emergency first responders and members of the Red Cross to provide flood evacuees with cots, blankets, food, water and shelter until it was safe for them to return to their homes.

"The assistance of the Texas State Guard is indescribable," said Angella Tomas-Bendy, American Red Cross Shelter Operations Manager. "Everyone worked diligently and tirelessly to make sure the Red Cross shelter operated smoothly. From the bottom of my heart, thank you to the Texas State Guard for your duty to the southeast Texas community!”

The regiment supported shelter operations for 200 evacuees at the Montagne Center, Lamar University in Beaumont and the Antioch Baptist Church in Beaumont, as well as, the Newton First Baptist Church in Newton.

"It’s an honor to help out the people of Texas, especially in an area in which I train and live,” said Sgt. Christopher Riehle, 3rd Battalion, 8th Regiment. “It is just one way in which we in the Texas State Guard can give back to the community.”

The Texas State Guard regularly trains alongside emergency management partners and the Red Cross on conducting shelter operations in order to prepare for situations like this.

“Now, here in Beaumont, Texas, we have put that training into a real world flooding disaster,” said Col. E.A. “Buddy” Grantham, 8th Regiment commander. "I am extremely proud of the men and women under my command for the job they have done in working with the Red Cross and other local agencies to assist the members of the community who were displaced from their homes. My hope is that our assistance has made this terrible event a little less stressful on all of them.”

The Texas Military Department activated more than 150 service members from the Texas Army National Guard and the Texas State Guard during severe flooding in Orange, Newton and Jasper counties. They provided swift water rescue support to emergency first responders, rescuing and evacuating 410 people from the floods, and supported shelter operations, providing basic necessities to hundreds of people in need.