LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - If you lived in Southwest Louisiana during the floods of 2016 or Hurricane Harvey, then you already know how important the Cajun Navy is.
Soon, the rest of the country will too.
The Discovery Channel is set to release a special about the group this year.
The group formed in 2005 in response to Hurricane Katrina, according to Jason Waymire, the Vice President of the Lake Charles chapter.
“Volunteers just went out to help thy neighbor," Waymire said. "And that’s what it was all about. That’s how the Cajun Navy got started; was helping one another.”
In the chaos following the storm, there were more people in need of help than first responders, so everyday citizens started to respond.
“Not saying anything bad about the government, but we were the first ones to get out there to help," Waymire said. "I mean, we were right there in the middle of it.”
That led to the formation of the Cajun Navy.
Their job, when a natural disaster occurs—no matter where it happens—is to send help.
“Your instincts kick in, to help. I mean, that’s the main thing; to help somebody," Waymire said. "If they’re in danger, that’s what you want to do is get out there and help them.”
He said while there are branches of the Cajun Navy spread out across the country, at the end of the day, they’re all connected.
He also warned that when there is a natural disaster, you have to do your research about which organizations to donate to; even organizations falsely using the Cajun Navy’s name.
“There are a lot of fake organizations out there," Waymire said. “And they get all this money that people donate and it’s not going back to the community to help the community.”
He said the best way to find out if an organization is legit is to do your homework. You can check the Cajun Navy’s website, or even look at the Better Business Bureau.
As for how he feels about the organization being put in the spotlight, he said that’s not why they do it.
“I really can’t believe we’re doing this because a lot of us don’t like being in the public eye," Waymire said. "We’re just here to help people. We don’t care about the publicity. That’s not why we do it.”
There’s one message he hopes people will take away from all of this.
“Without you, there is no us," Waymire said. "That’s the main thing.”
The discover special is set to air sometime in 2019.