News: Fort Bragg soldiers to generate power for Hurricane Sandy victims
Story by Spc. Jennifer Brady
LAKEHURST, N.J. - The aftermath of Hurricane Sandy has affected the lives of millions of Americans and continues to leave some without power, fuel or the means to commute to work.
Local and state authorities with federal support from federal agencies have been working to restore power to the residents of New Jersey and continue to provide assistance to the governor of New Jersey.
Gov. Chris Christie has stated that his top priority is to restore power to those affected by the storm and, luckily, the 249th Engineer Battalion from Fort Bragg is helping to do just that.
“We’re conducting support of the national response framework by conducting assessments at critical facilities and sending the information back to the generator yard to begin sending generators out so that we can help bring power back to the people of New Jersey,” said Army Capt. Michael Wiehagen, company commander, Bravo Company, 249th Engineer Battalion, Fort Bragg, N.C.
Wiehagen, a Pittsburgh, Pa., native, is responsible for a number of engineer teams throughout the state of New Jersey and parts of New York that are working around the clock to assess the damage in these areas and determine the scale of assistance needed.
Once these power needs are identified, Wiehagen’s mission is coordinating the allocation and shipping of generators to these critical areas.
For Army Sgt. 1st Class Barry “Lee” Newnam II, non-commissioned officer in charge, 249th Engineer Battalion, it’s more than a mission, it’s an opportunity to help a fellow American.
“Being a United States Army soldier, it’s a privilege to help the citizens of New Jersey in this time of need and I look forward to continuing to serve,” said Newnam about restoring power to those in need.
“We are here to offer support to the state of New Jersey for as long as they need us and it’s imperative that we continue this support at such a critical time,” he added.
The generators allocated for New Jersey residents are ready and capable with enough power to support hospitals and other areas in critical need.
Four generators can provide enough energy to power a small town, and with hundreds of generators facilitated by the 249th Engineer Battalion, the Soldiers and FEMA are well on their way to restoring power in New Jersey.