Trucks Loading Up to Help Louisiana Flood Victims

WEST HAZLETON -- Truckloads of supplies collected in our area are headed south to help the flood victims in Louisiana.

Thousands of people are still cleaning up after last month's floods.

Last week we told everyone a former Luzerne County firefighter is now a fire chief in Louisiana. His department and most of his parish were underwater, so he sent a call for help to his old Hazle Township fire station.

The response has been more than anyone imagined.

It's been about a week since word got out that former Hazle Township Fire Chief Jack Jones needed some help. His station in Louisiana was flooded and so was his community near Baton Rouge.

Jones put out a call to the fire chiefs in his hometown area, and it was answered.

"We've gotten people that come as far as Tamaqua, Wilkes-Barre, Scranton area, there was even a family that came from the New York-Pennsylvania border," said West Hazleton firefighter Tony Colombo.

Every fire department in the greater Hazleton area began collecting donations for emergency responders and people in Louisiana who lost almost everything.

We were there when the first donations were coming in last week.

Now, two trucks are filled with clothes, furniture, and nonperishable food items.

"When I asked for help, I was just expecting a little bit. Any little thing from the Hazleton area would've been phenomenal," said Jones. "We are truly, truly overwhelmed."

We got a brief chance over the phone to speak with the former Hazle Township chief, now a chief in Louisiana. He says the flood waters have receded but the damage is tremendous.

While help is pouring into Louisiana from all over the country, it's extra special for him to get such a response from back home.

"From the bottom of our hearts, thank you! You don't know what it means."

Penske and A&S Kinard Trucking donated the trucks that will be bringing down the donations from Hazleton to the flood-ravaged Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

An A&S driver even stepped up to take nearly the 1,200 mile trip to Louisiana when firefighters finish sorting donations and loading the trucks.

"He literally said he is willing to drive the trailer down and forgo his pay and do it as a volunteer thing," said Jeff Miller, A&S Kinard Trucking.

The trucks are expected to be fully loaded by Monday, and that's when they'll hit the road to Louisiana.

One of the last thing though that will be loaded on the truck is some comfort food from home. Vesuvio's Pizza in Hazleton is the Louisiana chief's favorite, so the owner is putting a few pies on ice and sending them there.

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