Hometown Heroes have been in Westlake since day after Laura

Published: Apr. 15, 2021 at 8:00 AM CDT
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LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - A team of disaster volunteers who arrived in Southwest Louisiana a day after Hurricane Laura, will wrap up their work next week.

Christian Aid Ministries has been cleaning up Westlake for the last 7 and a half months. Westlake Mayor Bob Hardey said they were a God-send.

“In two days, with their help, we were driving every road in Westlake,” recalled Hardey. “Two days after the hurricane.”

Hardey can’t say enough good things about the volunteers. Since August 28th, they have clear roads and yards of tree debris and refurbished 31 homes in Westlake alone. Project coordinator Daniel Weaver says they never quit.

“Because the need’s still here,” said Weaver. “There are still lots and lots of houses left to do. Lots of unfortunate people who did not have enough insurance or finances to repair on their own.”

Mayor Hardey says he’s made hundreds of new friends during the past 7 and a half months. .

“They touch you in a way that... it’s hard to explain,” said Hardey, breaking up, “Yeah, I’m gonna miss them a lot. I’m going to miss them immensely. What they did for us, it was all out of love.”

Even though the volunteers are wrapping up next week. They could be back again later this year.

“We are planning to come back here next fall again,” said Weaver. “We normally start after Thanksgiving. So we are planning to come back here. We’re not sure if it will be here in Westlake, Sulphur, Lake Charles. We’ll see what the needs are by mid summer and evaluate that, but yes, we are planning to come back.”

Crews with Christian Aid Ministries have also been working in Lake Charles, Sulphur and Moss Bluff. Since they’ve been here, they’ve brought in an average of 20 out of state volunteers each week.

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