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Sep 1, 2010 1:42 PM by Melissa Canone

National Guardsmen Adding Peace of Mind to Franklin Residents

PINEVILLE, La. - For nearly 400 residents in Franklin, La., more than half a mile of Hesco baskets placed by Louisiana National Guardsmen are adding peace of mind against future storms, Aug. 27.

In 2008, Hurricane Ike caused flooding along evacuation route Highway 90 that affected numerous homes. Strategically placed four foot Hesco baskets filled with sand have added a much needed layer of protection from possible storm surges.

The excitement was evident for the supervisor of Drainage District No. 1, Robert Robinson, as he watched the Guardsmen work. He said seeing the baskets filled gave him peace of mind.

"The Guard has helped tremendously," he said. "We couldn't have done it without the help of the Troops. We appreciate what they are doing here in our community, state and all over the world."

Guardsmen spent nearly two weeks working on the engineer training project at four sites around Franklin. The Hesco defense was added at Yellow Bayou Pump Station, Charenton Navigation Canal, Franklin Canal and Hanson Canal; some areas required double stacked rows of the baskets. Eventually, grass will grow out of the baskets and roots will add stability to make the baskets part of the levee.

Since the beginning of the oil spill response in May, one group of Guardsmen from the 769th Engineer Battalion, 225the Engineer Brigade, has laid miles of baskets at Port Fourchon, La., Cameron Parish and now in Franklin.

"I requested these guys because I've worked with them and know what they are capable of," said noncommissioned officer in charge of the project, Staff Sgt. Clancy Kirk from Raceland, La. "Some have been with me since day one [of the oil spill]. They work hard."

Kirk went on to explain that the process of laying the Hescos requires monotonous attention to detail to lay the defense correctly so it will last for up to five years.

-More-

"The work is very tedious. We have to dump 16 to 18 inches of sand into each Hesco, and then stamp it down," he said. "The process must be repeated four or five times per Hesco."

As tiring as the repetitive process is, Kirk said he loves the opportunity to help his community.

"If the community needs help, I'm here to help. That's what my job is as a Guardsman," Kirk said. "I could do this 24/7."

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