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Salisbury groups help with hurricane relief

By Emily Ford
eford@salisburypost.com
SALISBURY – Salisbury groups are responding to help disaster-relief efforts in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.
Three Salisbury-based Blackhawks and 16 Army National Guard aviators are leading a helicopter task force sent to support response and recovery efforts in the Northeast.
The aviation task force led by the N.C. National Guard launched Wednesday afternoon from the guard’s base in Morrisville, adjacent to Raleigh-Durham International Airport.
Dubbed Aviation Task Force Guardian One, the group includes:
• Three North Carolina UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters and 16 North Carolina Army National Guard aviators from Company C, 1st Battalion, 131st Aviation Regiment based in Salisbury
• Four CH-47 Chinook helicopters, two each from the Georgia Army National Guard and Alabama Army National Guard
The task force will operate from Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J., and assist in search and recovery and rescue operations in the disaster area, as well as ferrying supplies and people.
Members will help with other missions as assigned by disaster-recovery managers.
The units have been deployed through Sunday, which could be extended into next week depending on need.
“We are prepared to support our neighbors in the Northeast as long as we need to to help them recover from the impact of Hurricane Sandy,” said Maj. Gen. Greg Lusk, adjutant general of North Carolina. “We were spared the brunt of the storm, but we’re all in this together.
“We know our friends up north would help us if the situation were reversed.”
Maj. John Feutz from Company C will lead the task force.
Baptist disaster relief
Rowan County volunteers with the N.C. Baptist Men Disaster Relief have been asked to go to Rutgers, N.J., where the organization on Wednesday deployed two feeding units that will serve a total of 60,000 to 80,000 meals per day.
Tom Kimball, team leader for N.C. Baptist Men’s region five, which includes Salisbury, said at least four people from Rowan County have volunteered to depart Sunday and stay in Rutgers for one week.
First Baptist Church in Salisbury will send a bus and trailer to transport half of the 50 volunteers expected to respond to the disaster from region five.
At least 50 people in the U.S. have died as a result of the hurricane.
Contact reporter Emily Ford at 704-797-4264.

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