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US Military Veteran Group Conducting Florida Rescue Operations

Floodwaters continue threatening survivors of Hurricane Ian. Government agencies are not the only ones involved in rescue efforts. Project Dynamo, an American military veteran, has been busy off the coast of Florida’s Fort Myers helping people on Sanibel Island.

Bryan Stern, a former U.S Navy lieutenant commander, was co-founder of this search-and-rescue group. According to Stern, “The search-and-rescue team was founded “as soon as the sun rose, we began rolling.”

Project Dynamo, named after the British evacuation from Dunkirk, France during the Second World War, has saved more than 20 people with a small flotilla. Many of the rescuees were elderly people whose escape from Sanibel Island was stopped by Ian’s removal of the causeway to the mainland.

NEW: Aerial imagery shows the destructive power of Hurricane Ian.

The Sanibel Causeway, washed out and partially collapsed. pic.twitter.com/vUqWPBwi5R

— Dakota Smith (@weatherdak) September 30, 2022

Tim Barrett, the training division chief of Sanibel Fire Department’s Sanibel Fire Department, praised the efforts of the group as well as the like-minded bystanders that have jumped into action. He said, “It kind of restores your perspective of humanity.” “You can see people contributing and not getting paid.”

Barrett pointed out that many of the rescuers had their own homes destroyed. They are still helping others, however.

Project DYNAMO, a veteran volunteer group that rescues civilians, traveled to Sanibel island on Sept. 30 to search for and rescue survivors of Hurricane Ian. https://t.co/9DGe4cYqvY pic.twitter.com/EOtEVjxEXb

— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) October 1, 2022

Project Dynamo is currently only available in Florida. However, it has been involved in rescue operations around the world and claims to have helped over 8,000 people.

Three Americans were left trapped in Afghanistan by the disastrous withdrawal of the Biden administration. The rescue group saved them all. Stern stated that the people brought back by the group to Virginia and California would have otherwise faced “very horrible” fates.

The group acted when others were unwilling to rescue Americans from Ukraine during the Russian invasion. James Judge, a spokesperson for the group, said that when the Biden administration stated they were not going to do it, it was almost like “Okay, here’s what we do.”

WFTS reported that Project Dynamo saved nearly 500 people from Mariupol in Ukraine, in June.

It All Comes Together

Other groups support official efforts. Matt Mengel and his buddies went to Sanibel Island to assist. We had gasoline. We had jet skis. We had water. Mengel said to the AP that they had food and snacks. “And our mission was to find them dead or alive.

According to reports, Hurricane Ian has left at least 76 people dead in Florida.

Mengel, whose home was damaged, started rescue operations on Friday with his compatriots after first checking the health of a friend they hadn’t heard from. After locating their friend, Mengel and his compatriots began to search for other people they could assist and ferry them back to the mainland.

Mengel’s team helped an elderly couple to wave down a Coast Guard helicopter. Project Dynamo was also a part of their efforts. Mengel stated that his team has completed seven rescues to date.

Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), noted that Sunday’s mobilization of search and rescue teams was the largest since 2001’s 9/11 attacks. Nearly 5,000 National Guard troops were activated on Thursday, in addition to the eight Urban Search and Rescue Teams who have been performing rescue operations since last week.

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