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409 Search and Rescue helping others

By Dawn Burleigh

A community is need of help was all Team 409 Search and Rescue needed to hear as they packed up and headed to Onalaska, a town approximately 115 miles northwest of Orange.

An Onalaska tornado was the eighth multiple-fatality tornado for the counties served by the NWS Houston-Galveston forecast area since 1950. According to the Enhanced Fujita Scale used to classify tornadoes, an EF-3 tornado has wind speeds of 136 to 165 mph, according to https://www.kltv.com/

Mike Owens, of Orange, organized Team 409 Search and Rescue after Tropical Storm Imelda flooded Orange County.

“After seeing so many people stranded in flood water from Harvey and Imelda, he just had a calling to found this organization,” Kristal Owens, his wife said. “This past weekend a several of our men and women went up to Onalaska to aid those in the community that were hit by the tornado last week.”

The volunteers did not stop there either. They also went up to Burkeville, hours after the tornado went thru, to help anyone stranded in their homes.

Using their own money and equipment, they are doing what they can to help those communities in need.

The organization is currently in the process of obtaining a 501(c ) so it can be recognized as a non-profit organization.

Each volunteer has a background check done as they are vetted prior to joining to 50 active members.

Those interested in volunteering can email Team409SR@yahoo.com for more information on the vetting process.

Team 409 Search and Rescue describes itself:

We are not the police or fire dept, we are strictly volunteers. We have a boat group, truck and ATV group and dispatching capabilities, to come together in an effort to help people in the times of emergencies or disasters.

The organization is also seeking funds to help with the efforts.

In a Facebook post:

As you know, we are a team of volunteers, and in no way compensated for the time, equipment, or fuel and supplies we use. It’s usually coming out of our own pocket, but we do it because we care about our neighbors. If you can donate, please do, and if not, we understand times are hard.

Donations needed are not just monetary but also equipment and volunteers.

To find out more about how to make a donation, visit https://tinyurl.com/y9bpajwm