We wrapped up Operation: Hudson Hawk after two days of muck-outs for flood-damaged property in Albany, NY. While small, this operation had a dramatic impact on the families we helped, brought together volunteers through strong camaraderie, and further developed our response and ICS skills within the region.
There was a true team effort among the region, TR HQ, and partner VOAD agencies. Within six hours of initial contact, our planning team drafted an initial situation report, engaged with government officials, and arranged to have an assessment team on the ground the following morning.
The entire region team spun into action to ready plans, people, equipment, and communications for the response. Through their efforts, work began on damaged properties within 42 hours of the initial request.
Looking back on the weekend, I’m so proud of how we showed up as a team. We responded to a community in need, supported one another, and forged lasting relationships with our fellow volunteers and VOAD partners.
For several volunteers, Operation: Hudson Hawk was their first TR experience. Some showed up not quite knowing what to expect and decided to extend their deployment because of the camaraderie and purpose they felt from being part of the team. In true TR fashion, we banded together and quickly completed full muck-outs of four properties including two apartments owned by a Marine veteran.
As impressive as the work was, the impact our team members had with property owners was even more meaningful. I’ve read many veteran perspectives following TR operations and felt the personal reward of helping others during TR service projects, but this was different. I saw first-hand how our team comforted homeowners to help them on their path to emotional recovery; from feelings of chaos and despair to those of control and possibilities.
I had a conversation with a homeowner on the verge of tears after seeing the piles of memories removed from her flooded basement; the feeling of loss for her was overwhelming. Just a few hours later, she made her way into the empty/swept basement, and as we walked her through the work completed by the team, I saw her smile, laugh, and talk about how she was going to use the space as a gym for herself. Moments like these are a reminder about the importance of what we do.