Missouri Crews Return Home After Helping with Florida Cleanup
Missouri State employees sent to Florida to assist with clean-up efforts from Hurricane Irma, have now returned home.
A press release from Missouri Department of Natural Resources, says that 18 state park employees and 58 MoDOT employees returned ome after more than a week of helping to clear roads and parks, in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma.
During the deployment, the Missouri State Parks team worked in two of Florida’s state parks, cleaning up fallen trees and other debris left by the Category-4 storm. According to reports, 168 of the state’s 174 state parks were closed due to storm damage.
The Missouri State Parks crew began working at Dade Historic Battlefield State Park, between Tampa and Orlando. The crew then moved to Anastasia State Recreation Area, near St. Augustine in northeast Florida, where they worked for the remainder of their deployment. Crews returned to Missouri on September 19.
“After Hurricane Irma struck, Florida asked for help with the cleanup, and Missouri responded,” said Missouri State Parks Director Ben Ellis. “With very little notice, 18 of our folks paused their daily lives, packed up and headed to Florida to help others in need. We are happy to have helped clean up two of Florida’s state parks, and we couldn’t be more proud of our team’s hard work and dedication.”
The press release adds, that MoDOT crews used a variety of equipment such as loaders, road tractors, backhoes, and chainsaws to clear debris off roads from downtown Miami, through Coral Gables, to Homestead in southeastern Florida.
MoDOT Director Patrick McKenna said, "I’m so proud Missouri could assist in Florida’s time of need. Missourians from MoDOT and MoDNR demonstrated the true spirit of public service with their willingness to sacrifice precious time with their families to go sight unseen to help another state.”
The Florida Department of Transportation requested assistance from any available state on September 9, as Hurricane Irma was approaching the state.
Missouri was one of three states, including Delaware and Maryland, to send staff. This is the largest MoDOT deployment to assist another state. The press release notes that a small crew was sent to help Florida with signal repairs, after a hurricane in 2005.