A team of first responders from Cleveland as well as others involved with TN-1, the Disaster Medical Assistance Team from Tennessee, have returned home after spending two weeks in Hurricane Sandy’s destruction in New Jersey.
Bradley County volunteer fireman Will Crowden returned Saturday from New York after spending 21 days in the area.
The TN-1 DMAT team was activated on Oct. 26 for Hurricane Sandy and flew initially into Maryland to stage and await orders for a mission. TN-1 was made up of Jimmy Woody, Jennifer Sylar, Gary White and Stan Clark.
According to Woody, they were among other Tennessee volunteers who traveled to the area prior to the storm which struck the east coast just before Halloween.
The four aided the homeless and displaced due to the storm.
“Our mission was to provide support for shelters at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, N.J.,” Woody said.
Approximately 900 people were in the two shelters set up at the campus.
Normally, 35 responders make up an on-call DMAT team. Woody said the number was raised to 50. His team was on call at the time of deployment and that was the reason they were sent prior to the storm’s landfall to stage.
The team was in New Jersey for two weeks.
According to Woody, during the second week of deployment, they were dispatched to Atlantic City where they supported medical aid for approximately 300 evacuees.
“There are still teams in place in the area,” Woody said.
“The bus ride from Maryland to New Jersey was rather exciting since the hurricane was literally heading right toward us.
“When we arrived at our hotel Hurricane Sandy was on top of us. We got in safely, but spent the rest of our stay without electricity. The cold showers were brutal.
“Upon completion of the first mission we were moved down to Atlantic City to provide support for another large shelter at the Atlantic Convention Center. We were honored to help the good people of New Jersey. They suffered a terrible disaster and like we always do, in good Tennessee fashion, we were able to make a difference and be a blessing in people’s lives,” said Clark.
“As always we want to thank our families, our employers, and the community for all of their support.”
Crowden said Saturday as he returned to Tennessee that he was deployed for 21 days under a Federal Emergency Management Agency contractor.
“We performed hospital and nursing home evacuations as well as medical standby. We are glad to be back home and pray for the recovery in the northeast,” Crowden said.