'Alert Academy' Hosts Over A Thousand Evacuees - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

9/28/05-Longview

'Alert Academy' Hosts Over A Thousand Evacuees

It's a difficult time for the evacuees showing up in Big Sandy tonight.

Evacuee Phillipe' Saldago told us, "it's kind of hard because we have little kids and it's hard to move around in the heat. We're blessed that we have a place to stay, shelter, food, and that. But it's still kind of hard for everyone."

"This is my first experience with this. I am a single father with 4 children and my concern is having a stable place to stay", said Kenneth Birdow, an evacuee from Newton.

Many evacuees from the shelters in Lufkin had more serious complaints about their newest home.

Mainly, promises from officials they say were broken.

Andrew Frank, an evacuee from Beaumont, says "they got us in a warehouse with no air, they told us we were going to a college with showers, yet we get out here and we're in a boot camp. We don't have no money, we don't have no place to go. What is next, to die here?"

But officials here are promising to do all they can to make their new visitors feel as "at home" as possible.

Food, water and bedding are being provided, with the red cross operating the facility as a temporary shelter.

Academy Commander Colonel  John Tanner told us, "though we've never done this before, taking evacuees into our place like this, we've gone out and served our communities in crisis. We see this as an opportunity to go a step further."

That's enough for some who arrived tonight... They understand their fellow evacuee's frustration.... But are truly glad for whatever help they can get.

Bob Hallmark, Reporting

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