Flood Victims in Louisiana Getting Help from Hazleton Area

HAZLE TOWNSHIP -- A firefighter in Louisiana put out a call for help, and a group of fire companies in Luzerne County answered.

Firefighter John Jones is a former Hazle Township volunteer firefighter who served for that part of Luzerne County for more than a decade. He's now in the Baton Rouge area, hit hard by the flooding, and he's hoping the community he used to help can now help him out.

Hundreds of thousands are now receiving federal help after flooding in Louisiana. Now, one firefighter there and his community are also getting help from people in Luzerne County.

"He would do the same thing for us if there was something devastating in our area," said Hazle Township Fire and Rescue Chief Scott Kostician. "Thank God Mother Nature is good to us and we don't see those types of natural disasters in our area."

John Jones was once part of Hazle Township Fire and Rescue. After the disastrous flooding to hit the Baton Rouge area, Jones sent this message to his former fire department, saying, "I didn't ask for help for Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, or Gustav, but I need it now."

The former Hazle Township firefighter's current fire department near Baton Rouge is completely underwater and so is his entire community.

"No matter where you are -- here in Pennsylvania or California, Florida, or New Jersey -- it's a brotherhood," said West Hazleton firefighter Tony Colombo. "You put out the call for help, and everybody is there to help everybody. We have each other's back."

More than a half-dozen fire companies in the greater Hazleton area are now collecting gently used clothes and household items for firefighters in Louisiana and flood victims there.

Nancie O'Donnell is one of the first people to donate to help the many who have lost nearly everything.

"You've got to help one another. That is what you were put on this earth for, to give."

Donations can be dropped off at any fire department in the Hazleton area.

The departments are hoping to have a truckload of stuff to send down to Louisiana by the end of this week.

They've also set up a GoFundMe page to get donations.