As south Louisiana residents hunkered down or evacuated in advance of Hurricane Ida, public safety emergency telecommunicators came to work — and never left. While Ida knocked out power and communications and flooded hundreds of miles, they answered the phones and dispatched help. Sleeping in shifts at the dispatch center, and with neighboring stores closed, they quickly found themselves short on supplies.
Hexagon regional sales manager Michael Dunkwu, who has partnered with New Orleans on several projects, felt the call to help. He talked with Orleans Parish Communication District Executive Director Tyrell Morris and asked what could be done from afar.
“OPCD does so much for its community, and its 100-plus call-takers and dispatchers are incredibly dedicated, so I wanted to see how we could help them,” Dunkwu said.
Then, he got on a plane to Birmingham, picked up a carload of toiletries donated by Hexagon, and made the drive into New Orleans.
“We recognize the immense effort being given by the team at the center, and how hard it is to be away from home in this type of emergency,” he said. “I was glad we could help make that work just a little more comfortable for them. It’s mentally and physically challenging in the best of times. These are not the best of times.”
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