GONZALES, La (BRPROUD) – When Hurricane Ida rolled through Louisiana, Ascension Parish first responders found themselves right in the storm’s path. They said there’s nowhere they would’ve rather been.
“I really couldn’t see myself doing anything else. I do feel very much called by God to serve this community,” said Sgt. Steven Coriell.
Sheriff Bobby Webre said, “We’re the ones who put our right hand up to God and said we’re taking a oath to protect and serve. That’s what we do. That’s what we signed up for.”
Assignments during this recovery mission range from patrolling neighborhoods and businesses, directing traffic for long gas lines or cutting trees from the road. Despite all the damage, responders said they still find comfort in the community.
“It’s heartwarming to see everybody come together in the time of devastation to help each other,” said Public Information Officer Allison Hudson.
Sgt. Coriell said, “As you become apart of the community and serve the community, you develop a relationship and a love for it. It makes it easier for you to go out there and do what you do everyday.”
It’s all hands on deck right now at the sheriff’s office. They are working long hours, vacations canceled and spending more time away from their families.
Sheriff Webre said, “I tell our deputies, take care of your family first and early. Make sure they are in a safe place. If you’re worried about them, you can’t concentrate on your job.”
The goal is to get Ascension Parish back up and running. Their next mission is to head down south and help other first responders.
“We’re not going to leave our neighboring sheriff’s hurting. Their deputies are going to need some time off. We’re going to try and go and relieve them. It’s first responders helping first responders,” said Sheriff Webre.