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St. Pete nonprofit helps fly medical professionals to Louisiana to help hurricane victims

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Posted at 5:35 PM, Sep 02, 2021

When disasters like Hurricane Ida hit the United States, nonprofit organizations immediately spring into action to find out how they can work together to help.

St. Pete nonprofit Sol Relief gathered their aviation resources to help another nonprofit transport their medical resources into Louisiana just days after Hurricane Ida made landfall.

Even with the power out across the city and at the Louis Armstrong Airport in New Orleans, the help from nonprofits pushed on.

“No controllers getting us into the area, and no controllers receiving us into the airport. So it’s kind of every man for himself,” said Kevin Barton, a Sol Relief volunteer pilot based out of Texas.

Barton volunteered his personal aircraft to help fly in medical professionals to help out on the ground in Louisiana.

“We’ve got 10 medical professionals from across the country. We’ve got a nurse practitioner from Boston, we’ve got a physician’s assistant from Colorado, Vermont, Maine, Utah, we’ve got folks from all over. They’re professionals in their field. We’ve got doctors, physician’s assistants, nurse practitioners,” said Harley Jones, Senior Program Manager for Domestic Emergency Response for Project Hope.

Project Hope is another nonprofit, focused on providing equitable healthcare for people around the world. They worked closely with Sol Relief to get help to people in Louisiana, just days after Hurricane Ida made landfall.

“The power is out everywhere, so of course as you can imagine, it’s very warm, and so you see a lot of people doing the best that they can to be able to cope, so a lot of people sitting outside,” said Jones.

Project Hope and its team of volunteers are now broken up into teams, helping out at a first aid center in New Orleans, and helping triage in Jefferson Parish.

“We’re here to support the frontline workers of New Orleans who have not only been responding to COVID all year long, but just really never stopped and have been responding to Hurricane Ida, and the needs of the residents,” said Jones.

Each volunteer is giving up hours, days, and maybe even weeks worth of time to help make home a little more comfortable for the victims of the hurricane.

“After hearing the stories, and what these people do for others, I feel like, any way that I can contribute is just a blessing to other people, and it’s a blessing just to be able to do it,” said Barton.

If you’d like to donate to Sol Relief’s efforts, click here.

If you’d like to donate to Project Hope's efforts, click here.