First responder describes being separated from family

Updated: Sep. 14, 2020 at 7:48 PM CDT
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LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - It’s been nearly three weeks since Hurricane Laura tore through Southwest Louisiana. For first responders and essential workers who rode out the storm—many of them have been separated from their families ever since.

And though‚ for now, Laura may have taken away much of daily life as we know it, it hasn’t taken away the bond between family.

“The last time I seen them was Wednesday afternoon, right before I had to report to work," Brianni Phelps said. “The Hurricane was going to make landfall and by the weekend I would be able to go back home, everything would be back to normal but that’s not how it happened. So, I never thought it would be that long before I would see them again.”

In a time where so much is uncertain, the things and people we hold dear are never too far way.

“When I came around the corner and I seen them, I lost it. I was so surprised and I needed that.”

Working in communications at the Calcasieu Parish Sheriffs Office, Brianni Phelps is no stranger to grueling work days, in the aftermath of Hurricane Laura, those days turned into weeks. Weeks away from her three young boys.

“Our call volume has been up, just people needing help. I feel for the people out there because we’re all kind of going through the same thing, so, I feel their pain.”

An emotional reunion captured on camera that has now been shared to the masses and resonating with so many across Southwest Louisiana that aren’t able to see their loved ones because of their duty to serve others.

“Whenever we talk, they want to come with me. I tell them I’m working...but honestly, I think they’re living they’re best life. They’re road tripping and what not.”

And although the last few weeks have been some of the toughest for Phelps. The help that she’s able to lend to her community, through the help of family and coworkers, has made this road towards recovery a bit more easier to travel.

“At the end of the day it’s all about family. It makes me feel good to know that we’re all in this together. I’ve seen so many comments of other first responders saying they miss their families, their wives, their kids, their husbands. So we’re not in this alone.”

Brianni says her sons are living their “best life” in San Antonio with family. She’s hoping that she’ll be fully reunited with her sons within the next two weeks.

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