Sunday, January 11, 2009

Municipal self-help in Eastern Texas

Steve Litten from Buna, Texas sent me this message last weekend. In his responsibility as the fire chief for the Buna Volunteer Fire Department, Steve explained how his department saw a problem in the wake of Hurricane Rita in September 2005 and solved it with community resourcefulness.

Here's what Steve's has to say:

After Hurricane Rita hit us, we worked on the emergencies and clearing roads first. We then quickly saw that we - and the public had nothing to eat. We immediately began to assemble BBQ pits and propane burners to cook with.

The area had no power, so with us gathering cooking supplies being seen, we soon had donations of the supermarkets and the restaurants and the school's supply of meat to preserve and prepare. We lined up freezers and cooks to start. In this heat, we soon had our firefighters overcome with heat exhaustion trying to take care of all our community's needs.

Since then - we have been hit twice more with hurricanes - although not as bad. We are now preparing for the next disaster. We have obtained two Military Kitchen Trailers. We are converting them to propane and are now learning how to cook on them. We have converted military "Shelters" to refrigeration units.

This is a new experience for us, learning how to cook for so many. I have found your site very helpful and would like to thank you for it. If anyone has a manual for using these kitchens, it would be helpful.

Thanks for writing, Steve. You letter is a testament to the help that a community can find within themselves in times of trouble. I have located my file on the U.S. Army's mobile kitchen trailer. I'll email so that we can make arrangements to pass the information on to you.

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