Texas veterans help rural Florida's hurricane survivors
A veteran from South Texas is using his newly formed disaster rescue to help Florida through Hurricane Irma.
Bud Allen started the Good Ole Boys Rescue when Hurricane Harvey tore through his home state last month.
Allen said as a Navy veteran he felt it was his duty to come to the aid of his neighbors, so he sold his favorite motorcycle to begin funding a supplying a rescue and recovery effort.
He and a fellow veteran got an old boat to rescue people with and started doing what they could in Houston, but they quickly found it was the smaller communities that needed them.
"I saw the holes in the system,” said Allen.
So the effort quickly grew as Bud took to social media with videos of their efforts. They began getting supply donations to keep bringing necessities to the flood survivors. He said every time they thought they were out of supplies a new truckload from another donor would show up and keep them alive.
Eventually Bud said a Florida company, To Infinity trampoline park, saw one of his videos and came up with the social media hashtag #Refillthetruck to help drive people to his pages to donate to the cause. Then Irma hit Florida, and Allen said there was only one option.
"I was like man, there's no way that we can’t take the knowledge that we gained working Harvey and apply it here,” said Allen.
So the Good Ole Boys made the drive to Florida at first finding difficulty getting through the red tape of the state’s recovery, but then they got in touch with the Lake Wales American Legion Memorial Post 71 who offered them warehouse space to set up a base and assistance in their efforts.
Now, with the help of more volunteers every day, the group is searching Polk County to find any hurricane survivors who may fall through the cracks or be low on priority lists for help.
He says the biggest challenge in Florida is keeping their supply lines alive. Right now, Allen said a lot of the major truck routes are still backed up or closed in places due to damage.
The group’s had to fly in some supplies to reach the area, but Allen is confident the supply routes are starting to clear up. Now he’s just asking folks outside of the two disaster areas to visit their social media and donate to the cause if possible. Because he said their group will keep going as long as they can.
"We won't be stopped. You put a team of veterans on something -- we're gonna knock it down."