On September 2, Pensacola District Troopers began escorting relief vehicles to the Mississippi area devastated by Hurricane Katrina and manning fuel trucks to get gas to law enforcement and first responders traveling to the disaster area. In addition, FHP staged at the Weight in Motion Scales at the three-mile marker and had troopers escort emergency personnel from there to the areas of the Mississippi Gulf Coast most affected by the storm. Area troopers were all too glad to help their neighbors in need, many of whom endured Hurricane Ivan and its aftermath less than a year ago.
When Charley, Frances, Ivan, and Jeanne visited Florida last year they affected the whole state in one way or another. The damage was inconceivable! The lives that were lost, the homes that will never be the same. The Florida Highway Patrol was there before and after. From evacuations of major Florida cities, to helping returning residents pick up and move on. That was 2004! Charley, Frances, Ivan, and Jeanne won't be back, their names have been retired. According to the National Hurricane Center, that's what happens when hurricanes result in substantial damage or death.
The Florida Highway Patrol learned some hard, but valuable, lessons last year. When our neighbors to the west were faced with the aftermath of the devastating results of Katrina, FHP took to the highway to help. There were many other Florida relief organizations and private citizens who went to offer their support and helping hands. They were all glad to see the familiar uniform of the Florida Highway Patrol. Now some troopers have returned home where they are prepared to offer their willing hands, when and whereever Rita strikes.