Since the beginning of the Kilauea eruption, the Hawaii National Guard has been there to help those affected. They know their mission and they do it well.
“Right now we’re assisting the Hawaii police with checkpoints at different areas around the estates and input a district as well as doing present patrols in and out looking and inspecting for cracks and checking on residents,” said Major Jeff Hickman.
The guard is also ready to use air support to extract isolated residents that may be cut off.
Major Hickman said, “We also have some helicopters in the area that are evaluating the areas on the ground and can be used for mass evacuation if needed. It gives us a great sense of pride to work in our own communities that we live in majority of the soldiers who started in this mission were all from this island volunteers.”
Their work does not go unnoticed by residents in lower Puna.
Lindsey Walch said, “They’ve been great. They’ve been on the spot anything that happened and any of the roads they’re right there on it keeping it, keeping everyone safe. Absolutely professional I would say as professional as you can be.”
To serve in your own hometown in a time of need is something Specialist Chad Chun Fat has wanted to do since the first eruption. It’s something he felt deep inside that he had to be involved in any way possible.
“I’ve been here since May 3. I stepped away from my full-time job. I know I’m making less then my full-time job but just being able to give back to the community has always been fulfilling to me,” said Specialist Chad Chun Fat.
It’s not the first time the Hawaii National Guard had to deploy to the area. In 2014, Tropical Storm Iselle hit Puna with extensive damage. The memory of the Hawaii National Guard and the relief efforts are still fresh in the minds of Puna residents.
Ralph “Rambo” Archuletta said, “Oh my God they’re angels. The national guard is the best thing in the whole world. They’re so nice. They’re helpful and they’re smart. They help everybody. All they want to do is help.”
Specialist Chun Fat said, “I feel for them. My hearts goes out to them. I can’t imagine my house maybe I lived in my whole life break down and just seeing these people still being able to work with the community still giving back to others. Other people who have also lost their homes just seeing everybody come together. I just hope everybody takes some time to pray think about if it happened to them. Think about all these people, what they’re going through and the hardships losing the home sleeping in shelters still having to go to work and not go home at the end of the day. Just keep them in their prayers.”