On August 27, 2020, Southwest Louisiana was struck by Hurricane Laura, a fierce storm with 150 mph winds and a 17-foot storm surge, the 4th strongest storm to hit the US in 150 years. The storm spread destruction from the Gulf coast to Arkansas and beyond, but the worst of the damage was centered in southwest Louisiana. 97% of homes, businesses, and schools in the path of the storm were damaged or destroyed by high winds. 6 weeks later Hurricane Delta made landfall 11 miles east of Laura and dumped 15” of rain on already damaged homes. This region of a quarter million people has thousands of unlivable homes, closed businesses, and damaged schools. The SR-1A Section Chief and nearly all Quelqueshoe Lodge members have had their homes damaged or destroyed by the storm, and the local council camp, Camp Edgewood, has seen significant damage. Because this event has affected so many, Section SR-1A has launched ReliefCorps 2020: Operation Louisiana Relief.

The program has two components: a lodge service project and a fundraiser. To commemorate our recovery efforts, a special gold mylar border patch has been designed and can be obtained by participation in a lodge organized service project. The only requirement for the lodge service project is that the project must benefit the community and not the BSA or any council. Any OA member who participates in the lodge service project and contributes 5 or more hours of service will receive the special patch. At the conclusion of the service project, the lodge should complete the Lodge ReliefCorps Report and submit it electronically by January 31, 2021, to Section SR-1A at flash.oa@gmail.com . After the Lodge ReliefCorps Report is received, the patches will be sent to the Council Service Center for distribution.

Any efforts to help locally in SW Louisiana should be coordinated through the local scout office, calcasieu@scouting.org , flash.oa@gmail.com, or (337) 436-3376.

Additionally, a silver mylar bordered patch may be purchased for $10.00 and the gold mylar bordered service project patches can also be purchased by those wishing to donate $100 to the relief efforts. All proceeds from these sales will be given to the Community Foundation of SW Louisiana’s Hurricane Relief fund. Check out their work to fund local agencies helping local people at https://www.foundationswla.org/laura-donations-grants.

There is no service requirement to purchase the fundraiser patches. Patches may be purchased and ordered online https://www.calcasieubsa.org/HurricaneReliefCorps by January 31, 2021. All purchased patches will be mailed to the Council Service Center along with the patches from the service project. Please help reach out to the victims of this natural disaster by participating in this program and remember that “he who serves his fellows is of all his fellows, greatest”.

Southwest Louisiana Strong,
Ethan Honeycutt
SR-1A Section Chief