Lebanon Fire Department and Wilson County Emergency Management Agency will send a combined six men to the area as a part of regional strike team. Responders are Jeremy Hobbs, Blake Wood, James Hendricks, Adam Sumrell, Nick McCorkle and Kevin Henson.
WEMA director Joey Cooper, Lebanon Fire Chief Chris Dowell and Lebanon Mayor Bernie Ash discussed the mission during a briefing Wednesday afternoon.
“It’s just different. It’s a different atmosphere. You do the same type of work, just under different conditions,” Cooper said. “Is this the only mission? It may or may not be. We may send somebody later on. It just depends on how much they need and how many people are scheduled to go.”
Cooper said the crew could remain in the area from one to three weeks, depending on the number of responders in the area. Cooper likened this mission to one several responders went on following Hurricane Katrina.
“If you’ve never been before, including the six that are going, it is an experience of a lifetime. You’ll see things and do things you haven’t done before. It’s really mind-boggling,” he said.
Ash, who said he spent five years in Houston, said the response brings a great deal of pride to Lebanon and Wilson County.
“I appreciate you all being ready and willing to go down there,” he said. “Be careful, and I know you’ll do a good job.”
Dowell said everyone who will take on the challenge is a hero, but he wants them to remain smart during their time in Texas.
“You’re down there to work but know your limits. Some of you all will push it to the limits and won’t know when to quit, even the supervisor we’re sending down will do the same thing. We want everybody to come back,” Dowell said.