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    Bayou Blue student returns to hometown as Texas Guardsman for hurricane efforts

    Texas Guard Ida Respones

    Photo By Tech. Sgt. Agustin Salazar | Soldiers from 836th Sapper company 176th Engineer Brigade Texas National Guard, under...... read more read more

    One member of Task Force CHAOS is Private First Class Misael Gonzalez of the 836th Sapper Company’s 176th Engineer Brigade, Texas National Guard.

    When Gonzalez was assigned to clear debris at his former middle school in Bayou Blue, La. as part of Task Force CHAOS, memories of his time there came flooding back.

    "I went to school here when I was 11, so that was about eight years ago when I was in sixth grade," said Gonzalez. I called my parents, and they are very surprised about me going back to my old school. They are proud of me for helping all these people that suffered from Hurricane Ida."

    Gonzalez’s squad leader saw the coincidence as something unique to National Guard operations.

    “When I told the squad where we were going for our next worksite, Gonzalez got excited,” said Staff Sergeant Richard Travino. "I thought it was pretty cool. It's something that can only happen in the Guard. He works hard. It's good to see that he's happy to help out his old community."

    Gonzalez has been doing more than just debris clearing with Task Force CHAOS. The task force has also delivered and distributed truckloads of food and supplies such as water, ice, and tarps to individual families throughout southeast Louisiana.

    "I am very surprised to be here helping out after the hurricane,” Gonzalez said. “Helping out right now made me remember how I had a good time here when I was young—many good memories. I never thought I would see this place again," Gonzalez said.

    Bayou Blue is a small, close-knit community that was in the direct path of Hurricane Ida. Many homes in this community have been destroyed, and the power has been out for the last seven days.

    "I used to live in the trailer park down the road; and during the summer, the whole community would go to the one snow cone stand in town,” recalled Gonzales. “It wasn't a big community, so you would see everyone there.”

    Although this is not the way Gonzalez would have liked to come back to his old community, it has fulfilled a part of his calling to the Army National Guard.

    "I joined the Guard to have life-changing moments,” he said. “The Guard has changed me for the better. It has helped me learn things that I never thought I could. This deployment to Louisiana is definitely a life-change moment. It hasn't just changed me but my family as well.”

    Gonzalez and the rest of Task Force CHAOS are due to return to Texas before the end of September once they complete their mission of helping the local communities of southeast Louisiana with hurricane recovery efforts.



    Date Taken: 09.13.2021
    Date Posted: 09.14.2021 10:46
    Story ID: 405171
    Location: BAYOU BLUE, LA, US

    Web Views: 25
    Downloads: 1