BATON ROUGE, La. (WVLA) — This holiday season Sergeant Jonas Martin knows there really is no place like home. Deployed to the Jersey Shore for the past 11 days he and his fellow State Troopers offered some much needed help to those left cleaning up after Super Storm Sandy.
"A lot of times, when we stopped and asked people, 'Is there anything we can do? Can we help you?' and they would turn around and try to offer us water or food. One lady says, 'the only thing I can offer is hot tea.' and we're like, 'no, what do you need, what can we give to you,'" Martin explained.
Martin and dozens of other State Troopers made their way to some of the hardest hit areas on the East Coast to lend a little help, and often times words of advice for hurricane novices.
"They instantly related to us because we're from Louisiana. They were quite shocked at first, and then their questions were, 'how bad is it?' Once we explained to them and told them, ‘you know what it does get better’ you could see it gave them a little bit of hope and it really helped them," Martin added.
With the word ‘Louisiana’ printed on your truck, though, it was always inevitable people would ask Martin to compare Super Storm Sandy to the damage left by Hurricane Katrina. He said comparing the two, it seemed more linked the storms than separated them.
"People are suffering and that's the common denominator, people are just, they don't know what to do. The water damage there in Sandy was very comparable," Martin observed.
But when it was time to pack up the operation and head for home, he said he was left humbled and hopeful.
"They have such a resolve to take it upon themselves to start the clean-up efforts, to do what they had to do to survive to the next day. And the ones that didn't quite know where to go, when we stopped and we talked to them, you could tell it gave them just that little bit that they needed," Martin commented.
Martin said he was happy to be able to help in New Jersey, one of the first states to respond to Louisiana’s call for help after Hurricane Katrina.