News: Infantrymen clear the way for relief
Story by Sgt. Steven Eaton
PLYMOUTH, Mass. – Residents of Alden Street in Plymouth, Mass., were some of the hundreds of thousands of Massachusetts residents who were affected by winter storm Nemo.
A down tree had fallen and knocked down critical power lines and blocked much of the road, disconnecting residents from power and blocking road crews from properly clearing the road and restoring power to the street.
“We just got a call from the Plymouth Department of Public Works to come down here, just outside Plymouth center were we found a down tree. So we’re going cut it up and hopefully clear the road way so people can get by,” said Sgt. 1st Class Paul Dyson, a platoon sergeant from the D Company, 1st Battalion, 182nd Infantry Regiment.
Soldiers from D Company, 1st Battalion, 182nd Infantry Regiment, working with the local Department of Public Works, have been working all throughout Plymouth and Marshfield assisting citizens affected by the storm.
“Our primary job was clearing roads for emergency vehicles, the towns identified what roads were blocked and we cleared them for emergency response vehicles and also for utility vehicles. It also allowed the town to free up man power to focus on restoring infrastructure,” said 1st Lt. Kyle Ferrier, a platoon leader from D Company , 1st Battalion, 182nd Infantry Regiment.
As residents gathered around to watch the National Guard soldiers work, smiles could be seen and hear “thank you’s” being shouted.
“It was good to actually talk to the individuals who came out their house, while we were working getting them access to their roads back,” said Ferrier.
Although their role as traditional Infantryman in the Massachusetts National Guard isn’t to clear roads of downed trees, the soldiers were happy to help out.
“The response has been positive over all, I kind of feel bad we had to tell people to go away, nicely, because they wanted to help. Give us food and that kind of stuff, the hardest part is telling people that we appreciate you guys hanging out and thanking us and all, but we don’t want anyone to get hurt,” said Dyson.
Although route clearance was the primary mission for these Infantrymen, they also spent some time indoors assisting the community.
“We spent Saturday night in a shelter helping some elderly people setting up cots,” said Dyson. “Things are going well, I think the moral of the men is high,” he added.
The soldiers were able to remove the blocked tree quickly, allowing local crews to get on sight and start working as quickly as possible.
“It’s been a good opportunity, I think this is one of the reasons we all joined the guard, glad to help these people out,” said Dyson.