NEW ORLEANS -- When Hurricane Harvey made landfall in southeast Texas on Aug. 25, 2017, it flooded thousands of homes and displaced more than 30,000 people. In response to the devastation, thousands of citizens from across the country rushed to Texas to assist in relief efforts, taking time away from their homes and work to help others out.
Among the people who headed to Texas was Marine Corps Cpl. Eric Gore, a dark haired, easygoing and friendly man.
“I just wanted to help my fellow countrymen out,” said Gore. “Helping our neighbors in Texas was something I was able to do, so I went.”
Gore, the chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear defense specialist training non-commissioned officer with Headquarters Battalion, Marine Forces Reserve, was sitting at home going through social media, when he first saw the effects of Hurricane Harvey. At that moment he decided he had to take leave and join the relief efforts.
“I knew I had the capacity to do something, but instead I was just sitting at work going through my day-to-day tasks,” said Gore. “There’s no sense in standing-by when people need assistance, especially when you’re perfectly able to help them.”
Gore left New Orleans at the beginning of Labor Day weekend on Sept. 1, 2017, taking an additional four days of leave after the weekend to extend his time in Texas.
He first drove with another Marine to Beaumont, Texas, arriving at the outskirts of the city where they linked up with members of the Cajun Navy, a group of citizens and private boat owners who assisted in the relief efforts of 2005’s Hurricane Katrina.
With the Cajun Navy, Gore used his experience in the Marine Corps to first help them set up an operations center in the back office of a dance studio. He then started communications with members of the Cajun Navy through phone calls and mobile apps, directing vehicles to distress calls and organizing supply convoys to flooded neighborhoods.
“Emergency management is at the heart of my job,” said Gore. “CBRN is the 911 of the Marine Corps. Everyone just thinks we run the gas chambers, but we’re also trained to respond to hazmat incidents and things of that nature.”
Besides organizing and directing assets in the makeshift command center, Gore also participated in many of the supply convoys, personally delivering supplies to people affected by Hurricane Harvey whenever an extra hand was needed.
“I did as much as I could,” said Gore. “But, in reality, I was a small part of the relief efforts. Without the help of all the individuals involved donating their time and money to relief efforts, none of my work would have been possible.”
Gore also planned to take leave again to assist in relief efforts in wake of Hurricane Maria, which struck Puerto Rico on Sept. 20, 2017, leaving the majority of its citizens without power. He organized a private flight to the island with a cargo of 12 donated generators, as well as additional relief supplies. However, due to Hurricane Nate, which made landfall in New Orleans, his plans had to be canceled.
Gore is currently still communicating with members of the Cajun Navy though social media, instant messaging and phone apps, hoping to head to Puerto Rico in the near future.