Posted: Sep 5, 2020, 8:15 AM
Shortly after 8 a.m. Friday, a 26-foot truck loaded with much needed supplies left the Benton courthouse heading to Calcasieu Parish. With the effort, Bossier Parish is helping a friend that stepped up when help was needed.
After Bossier Parish suffered heavily from flooding in 2016, it was the Calcasieu police jury that proved to be a valuable resource as the local police jury began wading through the maze of GOHSEP and FEMA regulations.
“They gave us assistance and provided valuable information when we really needed it,” said Bossier Parish Administrator Bill Altimus. “We developed a strong relationship and got to know many of their employees and police jury members.”
When Hurricane Laura left Calcasieu devasted Calcasieu, the first thought at the Bossier police jury was how can we help.
“Tuesday afternoon, Bill Altimus, Renee (McKinney) and I were talking about what we had seen other groups doing to help the folks in Calcasieu Parish, a sister parish, and we thought we could do something,” said Monica Grappe, Bossier Parish’s right-of-way manager.
Initially, the plan was to put together 100 bags of necessities like batteries, flashlights, bug spray, sanitary wipes and snacks. Grappe asked police jurors and administrative staffers for donations to cover costs and the generosity propelled beyond that initial request, she said.
“In addition, one of our suppliers, VCC Janitorial, gave us 94 cases of toilet paper, seven cases of wipes, 170 pairs of cleaning gloves…things the people in Calcasieu said they needed,” Grappe said.
In slightly less than 48 hours, the staff had gathered enough supplies to fill the truck.
“We had thought we’d use one of our trailers to transport the items but we outgrew that pretty quickly,” Altimus said. “Our staff ladies proved again that if you need something done, just let them do it.”
Grappe said the staff will continue to collect items to aid Calcasieu Parish.
“The idea was to put together items quickly to give some immediate relief,” she said. “A lot more is definitely needed and we will continue to help as we can.”