Post-storm mission in Virginia National Guard members' hearts

Virginia National Guard members prepare to help people affected by brutal winter weather after a snowstorm hit Hampton Roads.

CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WVEC) -- The Virginia National Guard is on standby, waiting to respond to emergencies in Hampton Roads following the winter storm that hit Saturday.

About 200 members are in the area in case people need help in the brutal winter weather.

After the sun went down, temperatures dropped steadily. Temperatures in the overnight hours into Sunday were expected to go lower.

Officials urged people to stay inside. in part, because conditions on neighborhood roads were treacherous. Ice covered the roadways, making it difficult for cars to gain traction.

Virginia National Guard Sgt. Eli Stokes told 13News Now one of the vehicles available to guard members makes navigating sheets of ice a bit easier.


“This is the 1152 Alpha-1 Humvee,” Stokes explained. “It’s a two-seater primarily with cargo in the back, diesel engine four-wheel drive.”

It's may not be a vehicle people typically would see on area roads, but it and other tactical vehicles are invaluable to soldiers responding to people who need assistance.

“We've got fuel can, shovel, ax," said Stokes. "Some of our trucks even have chainsaws on them."

They also carry thermal blankets and EMS supplies.


“Anything that could go wrong, we have the medical equipment to assist,” Stokes stated reassuringly.

National Guard members are working with local fire departments and they are working out of their regular armories.

Stokes explained the mission is one that hits their hearts.

“We care about the people in the community because they're not just residents of the Commonwealth of Virginia,” he told 13News Now. “They're our family. They're our friends. That's the big thing about the National Guard.”
 


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