East Texas Relief Team Arrives In Florida - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

8/17/04-East Texas

East Texas Relief Team Arrives In Florida

The group of 18 East Texas men, loaded down with food and water, arrived in Florida Monday. After an 1,100 mile trip, the East Texas Disaster Relief team learned they would be stationed in the town of Lake Wales, FL.

Group leader Mike Brittain talked to us by phone Tuesday. He said the area is nearly without help.

"This county (Polk) was one of the most Northern counties hit, so they were kind of skirted in about half the county," he said. "It was an area that had not been identified to much of the needs, then they moved us into the area to help here."

The team spent much of the day setting up. With two large trailers, the team can provide up to 15,000 pre prepared meals per day. Mike said the Lake Wales area can use their help.

"Several miles out we began seeing trees that were broken down, there were quite a few orange groves in this central part of Florida and I guess those trees are really susceptible to the winds because many orange trees outside the area had limbs broken or were completely broken down as we got closer we began to see things like chain link fences broken down."

This crew has worked disasters such as 9-11 and the Jarrell tornado, so they are used to the devastation. Mike said the people are their main concern.

"The people are in good spirits, we've been distributing cases of water for half the day," he said "They're still without power today so this is a very needy area."

The group will stay in the area Tuesday night and begin providing lunch and dinner tomorrow.

Chris Gibson, reporting
cgibson@kltv.com

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