What Did You Do This Weekend?

For me, I was suppose to be doing flood relief actually, to help out people that were impacted by the flooding that just occurred here in Washington State but in all actuality, what I really did was far from that.

So Wednesday, while I was work, I get a call from that Washington State National Guard telling me that we have been activated and I need to drop what I was doing (again, I was at my real job doing real work) and I need to get there right now with all my gear. I was told it was something to have to combat the flooding that was happening state wide. I talk to my boss, tell them that I need to go ASAP and get down there, well they didn’t really want to let me go but they kind of had to. Now I rush home real quick and grab all my gear and from there I head down to Tacoma, WA for what would be a god awful way to finish my week and a crappy way to start my weekend.

So I get down there within 2 hours with almost everything I need and they have me fill out some paper work (med stuff), I get that done and then it starts, I, and everyone else, now just sit around waiting for our orders. And I sit. And sit. And 6 hours later, I’m still siting. By this time we get told that we are not able to leave base for the night because we have to ready to go in the early morning to help out.

Son of a bitch. I brought none of my personal stuff, no soap, shampoo, towel, non of that shit and we have just been put on lockdown. Now I’m annoyed.

Off to my car I go to get some ZZZ’s in there because it is more comfortable then anything else. We all get woken up around 5:30 in the morning on to, can you guess? Sit around for many many more hours. We sat around till about 2-2ish now. This is really getting annoying. But now we are finally doing something. We finally get loaded up in the trucks and head on out, our first stop? Costco! Seriously? I can not believe this, we have been there for almost 24 hours and we stop at Costco for free pizza (thanks to Costco for looking out though, they didn’t know how disorganized we were. That was really awesome of them for hooking us up with something like 9 boxes of their delicious pizza), I can’t believe this, we are getting rewarded now for doing nothing, just sitting around. After an hour goes by in the coldest and windiest parking lot that I’ve ever been in, we take off (we are thinking that we might actually help out now, so not true)

Our next stop, Pierce County Emergency Management, a big warehouse area where we sat around for a few more hours while the big wigs decided what would happen next. Well, it was about 6:30ish when they actually decide something and we board up again (remember we have been sitting around for more then 13 hours now, not doing a lick of work or help) Next stop, Red Lion, yes Red Lion for some rest and relaxation. No, I’m not joking, they now have booked all of us in a hotel for the night. I was 15 miles from my car and I can’t get to it to go home, again I have to stay here the night. Son of a bitch. My MacBook is even in my car, I have nothing with me once again, at least this time though I get a nice bed to sleep in and a shower.

Next morning we all report down in the lobby at 6:30am to board the trucks and head back to the PCEM building where we would sit around till 11:30ish, another 5 hours of sitting around. But after this, we actually do something, finally!! We head on out to Sumner to look at some of the damage.

Wow, there were some very lucky people to escape with no issues because many of the houses and trailers (most of the places they took us too were actually trailer parks, someone had the bright idea when they made these to make sure they are next to the river and below everything else). A lot of these homes were hit pretty hard, I’m talking about being below 4 feet of water hard. Everything stinks, it’s nasty, muddy, awful. So we are giving a bunch of flyers that we are to hand out to all those that were affected, it just has a phone number to call where they can help with relief, that’s it. After about 3 hours of that we call it a day (not our decision to only work 3 hours). Now we go back to the PCEM and sit around for another 3-4 hours.

Back in the trucks we go (BTW, if you never rode in a 5 ton, or a deuce and a half, consider yourself lucky as it is not fun, not at all)! Turns out we are going back to back finally, well after the driver got lost (it’s a 10 min drive normally) we finally get there to turn out gear in and call it a night, or so we thought. We can’t leave yet without more sitting around time, joy! We sit around for another hour to get briefed and crap and then finally, we actually get to go home!!

We were activated for well over 72 hours, slept for about 10 hours, rode in trucks for around 3 hours, actually did some good for about 3 hours, and sat around for the rest of the time. I felt so bad that we were all activated but not doing anything, we stayed in hotels, we given free food twice by businesses, and worked for a measly 3 hours. I actually felt ashamed to be associated with this because of all the mismanagement.

Well that’s what I did, I wasn’t happy with it as it was totally fucked up. It actually felt like we were there for PR reasons more then anything else, this way the government would be able to show the news that they cared and they wanted to help (even though we didn’t really do anything). I can only imagine how much all the cost too, talk about waste.

Here are some pics though about what we did see:



~ by Steven Artlip (Steve519) on January 11, 2009.

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