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Guardsmen from Cumming armory patrolled roads

POSTED: February 16, 2014 12:16 a.m.
For the Forsyth County News/

Cumming-based National Guardsmen helped patrol the roads of north Georgia during the winter weather.

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While most Forsyth County area residents stayed safe and warm in their homes last week, nearly 1,000 Georgia National Guardsmen sprang into action across the state.  

Ashlie Shrewsbury, a spokeswoman with the National Guard, said 514 Army National Guardsmen and 84 Air National Guard personnel were called in for the winter storm.

“In addition to those that we brought on just for the storm response, there are another 368 full-time National Guardsmen that are already being funded … that were also utilized for this because it was not an additional expense,” she said.

According to Maj. Christopher Corley, 136 of the nearly 300 troops fanning out across north Georgia were housed at the Regional Readiness Center on Aquatic Circle in Cumming.

“We had Guardsmen here and in Canton and Dalton,” Corley said. “The majority were here in Cumming. We were working all the counties from here north to Tennessee.”

Corley said Guardsmen are called into service any time the governor declares a state of emergency, which Nathan Deal did on Monday ahead of the storm.

“As National Guard, we’re part of the military that the governor has at his disposal, as well as answering federal needs,” he said.

Shrewsbury said a total of 150 vehicles were also deployed by the Guard throughout the state for the event.

“There were the Humvees and a vehicle called an LMTV, those are those large cargo trucks that you see, as well as wreckers,” she said.

The Guardsmen worked closely with local emergency services personnel, helping with a variety of tasks.

“We were patrolling all the roads and what we were looking for was downed power lines, stranded vehicles, motorists that might have been stuck somewhere so we could get them somewhere safe,” Corley said.

“We were also moving medical personnel back and forth to hospitals so the hospitals could keep operating. If a doctor or nurse or someone couldn’t get out of their driveway or out of their neighborhood, we would go pick them up … We did quite a bit with Northside and [Northeast Georgia Medical Center] in Gainesville.”

Corley said troops also helped several patients who were released from hospitals get back home, and escorted several ambulances in the area to “make sure [they] didn’t get stuck or spin off in the ice.”

While on patrol, he added that Guardsmen carried prepackaged meals, bottled water and blankets in case they “ran into anyone who needed anything.”

“We also kept all of our armories in the area open as warming centers in case people’s power went out and they needed a place to go,” he said.

“We drove, I think it was, a little over 3,000 miles just trying to make sure things were as good as could be given the conditions.”

 

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