Cecilia DowdSep 2, 2017, 11:32 am

Local National Guardsmen work tirelessly to rescue people in Texas

Members of the 106th Rescue Wing have made 526 saves so far


As people work on relief efforts from afar, our local Air National Guardsmen are in Texas. They’re staging dramatic rescues as they work tirelessly to save people from the floodwaters.

Five hundred and twenty-six — that's the number of saves made by members of the National Guard from our area.

As FiOS1 News has reported, 120 men and women from the 106th Rescue Wing — located in Westhampton Beach — volunteered to go to Texas.

While many are from Long Island, Captain Michael O'Hagan is from New Jersey.

“From 1-month-old babies to ambulatory elderly and everybody in between,” says O'Hagan. “Both getting hoisted into helicopters, getting picked up by Zodiac boats that are in water, sometimes swift water that you're contending with stop signs that are submerged — completely submerged cars.”

And alligators too! “These guys are living a renegade life as they're down here literally working sunup to sundown and beyond and then finding an abandoned house to just crash and sleep on the floor to get some shut-eye and then right back at it the next day,” says O'Hagan.

In addition to the 526 rescues, we’re told there have been several dozen pet rescues too.

Each day brings new extraordinary stories. Two people are alive thanks to the good eyes of one member of the 106th, who spotted a tissue being waved from a window.

O'Hagan describes the scene: “They lowered down and discovered it was an elderly caretaker with an older gentleman that had severe disability. Not only physical disability but also was mentally disabled as well. Had some dementia and other issues he was contending with. So they found the woman was in a double sink in the kitchen — the sink had collapsed through the cabinet and she was stuck.”

And FiOS1 News can’t forget the members of the 106th dubbed the ‘dad squad’. O'Hagan says, “Some guys are funny — you'll have guys who are like, ‘I don't want to hold a baby’. Then other guys are like, ‘Get the "dad squad" in there’.”

It's thanks to them this 1-month-old baby was wrapped safely. They brought down ‘baby bjorns’ for the rescue, which are baby carriers with harnesses.



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