South Carolina National Guard deployed for post Florence recovery

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    HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – Soldiers from the South Carolina National Guard are ready to respond and participate in recovery efforts from Florence.

    More than 3,000 soldiers are throughout South Carolina providing help to those in need. “Our main concern and mission is the people of the community and to support the people, the state of South Carolina and any type of organization that we can help, we will help. As far as water missions, or rescues, anything like that is our main concern,” said Lieutenant Collis Martin with Unit 741.

    Martin and his team have been staged along Carolina Forest Boulevard at the recreational center since Saturday afternoon, ready to be deployed with more than 40 soldiers once a water operation mission gets handed down to them.

    “Our main concern is the Conway area right now our order is to help at least 100,000 people as far as water is concerned, so we are here to help a vast majority of the community,” added Martin.

    That water is stored inside large water tanks they call hippos. Martin added, “Each hippo we are talking about anywhere from 3,000-9,000 gallons of water storage is concerned, so it gets pretty high. A lot of those things can get stored anywhere on a flat surface like you saw, and can get deployed and redeployed. So, if power were to go down and water is needed, obviously our first concern is the hospitals and then you’re talking about endless capabilities of water for communities.”

    Other equipment includes ropu’s, or reverse osmosis purification units, that can purify thousands of gallons of water from lakes, salt water sources or fire hydrants, Martin explained.

    The Engineer Battalion unit in the Conway area has nearly 150 soldiers there right now, Martin said. “So what they are doing now is those sandbags, those barricades, anything they can do as far as preventive, is crucial to their mission as far as preventing that lake from being flooded.”

    When asked who are helping the men and women who are helping so many others, Martin replied, “I give a huge shout out to the community, once they found out we were here, since we did kind of take over their rec center, we got so much love and support, dropping off food, snacks, sending their best wishes to us, even though we are supporting them, they are also supporting us at the same time.”

    Martin said the unit plans to stay in the area through Friday or will extend longer if needed.

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