Kentucky National Guard leaves for Louisiana

RICHMOND, Ky. (WTVQ) – The 617th Military Police Company of the Kentucky National Guard is packing up for New Orleans, Louisiana to help with relief efforts after Hurricane Ida swept through the state Sunday.

The unit was deployed to help with civilian recovery, aid in directing traffic with local law enforcement, and assist the Louisiana National Guard. They’re prepared to help in whatever way is needed.

“I spoke with them last night…and talked a little bit about empathy and grace and helping [and] always being there to help and being there for that reason. And that’s why they volunteered to help, that’s why their heart is here,” said Captain Stephen Tindall.

The 617th company has a broad range of experience; some have done tours during the Iraq War, and helped out at disasters such as Hurricane Katrina. For others, this is their first deployment to something like this.

Second Lieutenant Hannah Warner, a Garrard County High School Spanish teacher, has served in the National Guard for about three years. This is a first for her, but she is feeling confident in her unit’s ability.

“The command team is really experienced, and our soldiers have dealt with things like this before, so I’m feeling confident and prepared,” said Warner.

The unit was deployed following a request by Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards and Louisiana’s adjutant general, Major General Keith Waddell.

According to Lieutenant Colonel Josh Futrell, the unit consists of just shy of seventy Guardsmen and they will travel by military convoy. The trip, which is about nineteen hours long, is expected to take about three days.

Sergeant Sarah Meisler, from Louisville, is leaving behind a husband and two kids for the mission. She is a full-time member of the Honor Guard, and says she is a part of the National Guard because she wants to be a part of something bigger than herself. She’s excited to be helping out.

“I’m mostly excited [for] doing welfare checks and actually getting to talk to the citizens who are down there who really need our help,” said Meisler.

The Guard estimates they will be in Louisiana anywhere from 20 to 25 days.

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