East Texas Relief Group Heads To Florida - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

8/15/04-Harrison County

East Texas Relief Group Heads To Florida

Emergency crews from all across the country are already in Florida, working to help those affected by Hurricane Charley. One of the groups hoping to make a difference this week is from East Texas.

We caught up with the East Texas Disaster Relief Team Sunday as they took off for Florida.

As Hurricane Charley inched closer and closer to the Florida coast this week, a group of East Texans were already making plans to help.

"We've been in disaster relief long enough to where we know something that catastrophic, disaster relief is gonna be there," said team leader Mike Brittain.

Brittain is just one of over a 100 men that make up the East Texas Disaster Relief Team. Based out of Morton, Texas, just North of Longview, these men have provided assistance in tragedies such as 9-11 and the Columbia Shuttle disaster. It's experience they say pays off during emergencies.

"As soon as we get on the ground, in an hours time, we can literally be serving food out of this pantry trailer," said Brittain. "It's can goods that we warm up, serve a complete meal for them."

Food and water won't be the only thing these volunteers will provide this week. Representing the Southern Baptist Convention, they'll also be carrying with them a message.

"We want to go and represent Jesus Christ and that's why we're going but we want to feed the people and help them as much as we can but we want them to know who we're representing," said volunteer Gene Lansford.

"We're literally carrying water that churches have donated to us to hand out to these people, that takes care of their physical needs-- we also take care of their spiritual ones," said Brittain.

18 men are making the trip. They'll initially be based out of High Springs, Florida. Once set-up, they'll be providing about 5,000-10,000 meals a day. All of the group's services are funded by donations.

Chris Gibson, reporting
cgibson@kltv.com

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