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Texas Task Force Returns Home

By: Jennifer Cavazos
By: Jennifer Cavazos

It's been four days of search and rescue missions for the men and women of Texas Task Force One. Today they returned home.

"The destruction was amazing. Its hard to believe that something has that much force." says Fred Taylor, a task force member.

The horrible devastation along the Alabama gulf coast will never be forgotten and neither will their rescue efforts.

Jeff Saunders, with Texas Task Force One says "We probably met 5 or 6 firefighters that had lost their homes and they opened their fire stations up to us. They were thanking us the whole time we were there. We're happy to be able to help them out."

The team completed their operations in Gulf Shores, Alabama on Sunday....soon after residents were allowed back into the area for the first time to inspect their homes.

Members we spoke to say it's a sombering thing to realize how much they've lost.

Taylor added "I went back through that floor and the ones above it two or three times. I even made entry into the room and we never located anything. What is was I don't know...but it made you stop and think."

Task Force One searched and cleared more than 400 homes over the weekend to prepare for the residents who had to come home to their personal devastation.

The team also assisted the local fire department to remove debris.
But the one highlight of their mission was receiving a personal thank you from President Bush.

Saunders adds "One of his (BUSH) comments to them was I feel a lot better now that MY task force is here. He took ownership of us and we're very proud of that."

Texas Task Force One is one of 28 teams in the national urban search and rescue system under FEMA.


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