Sometimes a volunteer opportunity just shows up. And it turns out that some people have just the skills and equipment necessary to help. We had an epic flood in South Louisiana last week. Emergency services were overwhelmed with the need. At first, they tried to turn down the fishermen and hunters who were stepping up to rescue neighbors and strangers. But, the government officials relented when the need out ran the resources rather quickly.
Flat bottomed boats, pirogues, rowboats, and motorboats operated by the men who hang out on the bayous and in the swamps fishing and hunting showed up and got the job done. About 20,000 people and their pets have been rescued in the past week. Rob Gaudet, the de facto head of the Cajun Navy, estimated that the volunteers helped 20% of them. They worked tirelessly to grab people out of homes filling with water. They faced alligators, snakes, downed power lines, and unseen obstacles beneath the waves. And, they got the job done with grace and kindness.
The Cajun Navy utilized current technology to make this happen. There were two apps pressed into service, one called Glympse and the other Zello. Glympse is a GPS locator, usually installed by anxious parents. Zello is a walkie-talkie app. The group coordinated their efforts with these tools. They worked in conjunction with law enforcement and the National Guard.
Mr. Gaudet wrote the following on The Cajun Navy Facebook page:
“This ‘thing’ called the Great Flood, as horrible as it is, birthed the Cajun Navy.
Instead of a media world where we often feel like simple pawns in a game of global chess and have no control.
We were empowered.
The Great Flood forced us (members and non-members alike) to do what we should have been doing all along. Focusing on what’s really important in all of our lives. Helping our communities, saving our neighbors and finding ourselves again.
In the midst of it we figured out how to celebrate the good in humanity and by doing so we regained control of our lives.
And we became better people.”
This sums up what I believe about volunteering to help our neighbor.
Thank you, Cajun Navy.