An expected 17 Floyd County sheriff’s deputies, prison officers and local volunteers will head out at 6 a.m. on Monday to assist with Hurricane Ida clean up in LaFourche Parish, Louisiana.
The group includes Chaplain David Thornton, Sheriff Dave Roberson, former Sheriff Tim Burkhalter and Floyd County Prison Warden Mike Long.
The trip will also honor the life of Polk County sheriff’s deputy Barry Henderson, who passed away from COVID-19 earlier this year.
Henderson and his wife, Chrisy Henderson, have been on multiple Rome Ga Cares trips over the years — and this year is no different for Chrisy, who has been working at the donation drop-off site every day.
“Chrisy has been coming in every day and sorting through boxes of donations and buckets,” Thornton said. “We appreciate you Chrisy, and we’re thankful you’ll be going on this trip.”
Thornton said estimates are that about 96,000 people in the region are still without power.
With Tropical Storm Nicholas coming through, Thornton suspects that number will only grow.
While the group is in LaFourche Parish, they’ll be handing out thin blue line dog tags that have the Bible verse Matthew 5:9 on the back. “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.”
They’re also having T-shirts made for the trip honoring Barry Henderson.
During the five-day period they’ll be in Louisiana, the group will be cutting down trees, cleaning up debris, working with the local sheriff’s office and handing out all sorts of essentials to people impacted by the hurricane.
Long will also be supplying a few box trailers and a water wagon from the prison. This will be the warden’s first time traveling with Rome GA Cares, although he’s done disaster relief trips in the past.
“We’re really looking forward to working with the sheriff’s department. I’ve got a member of my command staff going and a corrections officer going,” he said. “The prison’s never really done anything like this before.”
The chaplain is also advising the volunteers to watch out for the former sheriff, who is known to pull pranks on these trips. Thornton recounted one time when he found his pillow filled with baby powder and ended up covered in the white powder when he laid down.
Burkhalter laughingly denies he did it, saying there is “no proof.”
Rome GA Cares is taking donations through Friday and still needs bleach and disinfectant spray in addition to money. People can stop by North Rome Church of God at 1929 N. Broad St. from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. to drop off supplies and donations. They can also sponsor a bucket of cleaning supplies for $75.