HomeNewsArticle Display

Icemen pick up the pieces

Senior Airman Christy Cadle and Airman 1st Class Troy Sergeant work on electric wiring for a light fixture in a home in Bay St. Louis, Miss. The home was damaged by Hurricane Katrina more than a year ago. Airman Cadle is assigned to the 354th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron and Airman Sergeant is from the 354th Civil Engineer Squadron. Both are from Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Anthony Nelson)

Senior Airman Christy Cadle and Airman 1st Class Troy Sergeant work on electric wiring for a light fixture in a home in Bay St. Louis, Miss. The home was damaged by Hurricane Katrina more than a year ago. Airman Cadle is assigned to the 354th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron and Airman Sergeant is from the 354th Civil Engineer Squadron. Both are from Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Anthony Nelson)

Senior Airman Christy Cadle sands the inside of a porceline light fixture in a home being restored in Bay St. Louis, Miss. The home was damaged by Hurricane Katrina more than a year ago. Airman Cadle is a maintenance specialist assigned to the 354th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron from Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. She was one of five Airmen who travelled from Eielson AFB to the Gulf coast to repair Hurricane Katrina-damaged homes. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Anthony Nelson)

Senior Airman Christy Cadle sands the inside of a porceline light fixture in a home being restored in Bay St. Louis, Miss. The home was damaged by Hurricane Katrina more than a year ago. Airman Cadle is a maintenance specialist assigned to the 354th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron from Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. She was one of five Airmen who travelled from Eielson AFB to the Gulf coast to repair Hurricane Katrina-damaged homes. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Anthony Nelson)

Airman 1st Class Derek Bartholic works on restoring sub-flooring in a house in Bay St. Louis, Miss. The home was damaged by Hurricane Katrina more than a year ago. Airman Bartholic is a maintenance specialist assigned to the 354th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron from Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. He was one of five Airmen who travelled from Eielson AFB to the Gulf coast to repair Hurricane Katrina-damaged homes. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Anthony Nelson)

Airman 1st Class Derek Bartholic works on restoring sub-flooring in a house in Bay St. Louis, Miss. The home was damaged by Hurricane Katrina more than a year ago. Airman Bartholic is a maintenance specialist assigned to the 354th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron from Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. He was one of five Airmen who travelled from Eielson AFB to the Gulf coast to repair Hurricane Katrina-damaged homes. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Anthony Nelson)

Senior Airman Thy Hoang applies caulking to wood trim in a home being restored in Bay St. Louis, Miss. The home was damaged by Hurricane Katrina more than a year ago. Airman Hoang is a 354th Medical Support Squadron pharmacy technician from Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. She was one of five Airmen who travelled from Eielson AFB to the Gulf coast to repair Hurricane Katrina-damaged homes. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Anthony Nelson)

Senior Airman Thy Hoang applies caulking to wood trim in a home being restored in Bay St. Louis, Miss. The home was damaged by Hurricane Katrina more than a year ago. Airman Hoang is a 354th Medical Support Squadron pharmacy technician from Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. She was one of five Airmen who travelled from Eielson AFB to the Gulf coast to repair Hurricane Katrina-damaged homes. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Anthony Nelson)

EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska -- Five first-term Icemen brought in the New Year with a determination to help those in need.

These Airmen took the initiative to help those in need by venturing down to the Gulf of Mexico to help re-build homes destroyed by Hurricane Katrina.

The group set up camp in a small town west of Gulf Port, Miss. called Bay St. Louis. Over the next week, these Icemen gave of their time to help six families restore their homes from damage caused by the hurricane, which happened more than a year ago.

"I learned that there is still a lot of work to be done in the gulf region," said Senior Airman Anthony Nelson, 354th Communications Squadron photographer. "I think we've lost sight because it's been over a year, but there are still things that need to be done."

The group of Airmen consisted of Airman Nelson, Airman 1st Class Troy Sergeant, 354th Civil Engineer Squadron electric power production engineer; Senior Airman Christy Cadle, 354th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron maintenance specialist; Senior Airman Thy Hoang 354th Medical Support Squadron pharmacy technician and Airman 1st Class Derrick Bartholic, 354th AMXS maintenance specialist.

Airman Nelson recalls the overall emotion the group had while down there.

"Everybody who went with us felt the same way--we were very passionate about helping people," he said.

"The entire experience felt great; as we looked around at how little was there but were able to help what was left made it all worthwhile," said Airman Sergeant. "I really felt like we were supposed to be there helping."

Collectively, the crew put in about 50 hours of work--doing everything from putting up drywall, removing nuisance trees, cleaning debris, painting, installing doors and ceiling fans, and any and all electrical and plumbing work.

Airman Nelson remarked that, simply put, the group felt privileged and thankful to be able to help people in this capacity, but much to their surprise the residents had something to say to them, too.

"It was amazing how many times I was told 'thank you,' both for serving in the military and just for being there helping," said Airman Nelson. "The determination of the residents down there to keep moving forward with their lives was really inspiring."