HAZELWOOD, MO (KTVI) - Hazelwood Police officers said they need department volunteers to help survivors of Wednesday’s tornados recover.
Unpaid patrolmen and women rushed to Hazelwood after a tornado forced most residents out.
"It just takes a strong desire to help out in the community,” said police Sergeant Andrew Eagan.
He directs The Hazelwood Police Neighborhood Action Team. He helps train neighborhood watch staff, Explorers and Volunteers in Police Services (V.I.P.). With no weapons and no pay, these men and women looked out for looters.
"They do exactly what we ask the community to do: is to keep an open eye and report,” Sgt. Eagan explained. “Helping out with traffic control. Providing water and food to the community. Manpower is what it comes down to. We are able to put our officers in key areas right now."
Volunteers did not need to have survived a disaster to patrol the disaster area. But, one volunteer officer did have a tornado on his resume.
"Many, many, many years ago. Do you remember the old Arena down on Oakland Avenue?" asked V.I.P. volunteer Jack Weber. "I did Guard duty down there when the tornado when through that area."
He said his Missouri Army National Guard duty in the 1959 St. Louis tornado prepared him for the 2013 Hazelwood cleanup.
"You get used to doing some things. You just continue to do it, because it feels good,” he pointed out.
Sgt. Eagan said disaster response without the volunteers would be slow, at best.
"We'd be in trouble. Our volunteers have helped out tremendously in the past couple of days."
"You name it, we do it,” Weber pointed out. “As long as we can keep the officers on the street doing their job then we're doing ours right."
Sergeant Eagan wants anyone willing to train as a volunteer to call (314) 513-5208.
On the Hazelwood School District's Facebook page, they are letting people know what needs to be donated:
High Demand Items
Bath Towels – hand, washcloth, etc.
Flashlights and Batteries
Men Hygiene Products
NOAA Radio or transmitter radio
Universal Phone Charger
I Phone Charger
Where: The Learning Center, 15955 New Halls Ferry Road in Florissant, MO.
Friday, April 12, 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.