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Keesler AFB assists in Hurricane Michael Relief

KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. (AFNS) -- The Kessler Air Force Base Airmen and Family Readiness Center hosted the first of two Evacuee Open-Houses in the Bay Breeze Event Center, Oct. 16.

The open house allows evacuees of Hurricane Michael from Tyndall AFB, Florida, with a "one stop" shop to gather information from Keesler AFB helping agencies, including military personnel and civilian personnel flight. During the event, there were food and beverages provided along with various different agency representatives to include military family life counselors, chapel services, and American Red Cross.

“With this event, they are able to meet face-to-face and address individual concerns,” said Jackie Pope, 81st Force Support Squadron AFRC flight chief. “These agencies were able to provide on-the-spot assistance with financial aid, advising on prescription refills, and changing duty status to name a few.”

There were approximately 180 evacuees in attendance at the open house Keesler AFB. The evacuees started checking in Oct. 9, when they received the notification from Tyndall AFB they had to evacuate as a result of Hurricane Michael. They had hours to gather as much as they could and head towards the nearest base outside of the evacuation zone.

Upon arrival, the evacuees checked in on Air Force Personnel Accountability and Assessment System to maintain 100 percent accountability. The 81st FSS is offering child care and housing to the evacuees and their families. The Airman’s Attic provided donations to the families in the form of toiletries, clothing and any requested items that are provided for the families.

“It is extremely humbling to know that people have come together to help us and evacuees,” expressed Tech Sgt. Alberto De La Garza, Tyndall AFB 325th Maintenance Squadron munitions production supervisor. “We are very grateful of all of the support and resources that Keesler has provided and we are glad that we came to Keesler instead of going somewhere without military reach out.”

The AFRC is also providing an information package with the most up-to-date information from Tyndall AFB and other resources provided by helping agencies. The second open house will be held Oct. 18 at the Bay Breeze Event Center from 2 to 4 p.m. for other evacuees that were unable to attend the first.

“Team Keesler stands ready to provide assistance to our Hurricane Michael evacuees for as long as it takes,” said Maj Amber Ortiz, 81st FFS commander. “We are honored to be able to provide help and relief during a time of crisis.”

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