The group of first responders was established following Hurricane Katrina and was revived in 2016 following the Louisiana floods in order to help victims. The volunteer-led group has been leading the rescue efforts after natural disasters in the south of the U.S., including after Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma in 2017.
The group initially was concerned that they could hinder recovery efforts, but they have since been working in tandem with state officials to assist victims, as per 4 WWL.
After hearing that it was announced that the Cajun Navy was on the move in The Sunshine State just before the Category Four storm hit, Governor Ron DeSantis (R) expressed gratitude that the group of veterans was headed for the Sunshine State.
“I believe the Cajun Navy may be on its route, and I'm sure it's fine here we go. We really are happy for them, and they are truly battle-hardened individuals,” DeSantis said on Wednesday.
The organization relocated its operations away from the Tampa area and moved to Fort Myers after receiving more “distress calls” in the region and rushed in bringing victims to safety.
Brian Trascher, Vice-President and spokesman for United Cajun Navy, via 4 WWL, stated:
“We've found an area of a truck stop located in Fort Myers that's going to be shut for the next few days and are letting us transport people there. Then there's a state-wide emergency in Florida where emergency officials will send their resources to the area to pick the people up and then distribute them to shelters that are run by the state.” The group was prepared to go to the southwestern region of Florida with a variety of high-water jeeps and vehicles due to the many chapters they have throughout the region of the southwest.
After experiencing the destruction that weather-related disasters can cause on the victims – particularly given the past of Louisiana, the Cajun Navy Cajun Navy members understand the concerns that Floridians confront at this moment.
“We've had it all throughout Southeast Louisiana so we know the severity of it”, said Trascher. “It's scary. There are a lot of emotions in the mix, and we wish to ease the blow to the greatest extent we can.”
The citizen-led group isn't limited only to the U.S. southeast but has also helped people who were affected by the hurricane Fiona in Puerto Rico. A few members of the group have journeyed all up to Ukraine to assist those affected by the ongoing conflict.
The Cajun Navy is accepting donations through their website, as they continue to aid those affected by this week's catastrophic storm.