Ohio National Guard sending airmen to Puerto Rico


Twenty Ohio National Guard Airmen packed up and headed to Puerto Rico Wednesday to assist in Hurricane Maria relief.

"It feels good," said Captain Evan Howard, who says his mission in life is giving back.

The response team is made up of members from the 179th Airlift Wing in Mansfield, Ohio and the 178th Airlift Wing of Springfield.

"We are going out there with the mindset for as long as they need us we'll be there," said Captain Howard.

The team is traveling with a mobile kitchen that is equipped to prepare pre-packaged meals for about 1,000 first responders.

"A typical meal could be scrambled eggs for breakfast with some potatoes, some pancakes. For lunch you could do: a spaghetti meal with bread and juice or something to that effect," Howard said.

Senior Master Sgt. Garth Eldridge is leading the team of airmen.

"We have serving tables for holding the food. We will serve them like going through a dining hall," said Eldridge.

Eldridge said the team will prepare two meals per day for the first responders.

"It helps morale and it keeps them with the energy to do their task because I know they have a very difficult task down there," he said.

The Ohio National Guard was called last Friday. Team leaders do not know when the airmen will return.