MIDLAND, Mich. – Rep. Annette Glenn, R-Midland, chair of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Military and Veterans Affairs and State Police, Wednesday said she’s encouraged that Michigan National Guard units from Bay City, Saginaw, Port Huron, and other nearby communities have responded to requests from the Michigan State Police (MSP) for assistance following massive flooding in the Midland area resulting from the breach of the Edenville and Sanford Dams.
Glenn, who early Wednesday accompanied state police personnel in an aerial inspection of the flood damage, said MSP requested that National Guard units provide assistance evacuating Midland area residents.
“Midland is home to our own National Guard unit, and we appreciate Guardsmen and women throughout the rest of the state coming so quickly to our aid in an hour of need,” Glenn said. “On behalf of families suffering yet another public health and safety hazard, on top of the coronavirus threat, I’m deeply grateful to Gen. Rogers and the soldiers under his command for their service to our community, state, and country.”
Approximately 130 soldiers and more than 40 specialized vehicles arrived in Midland early Wednesday morning to provide assistance. Guard troops began missions at 4 a.m., evacuating citizens, augmenting emergency planners, and preparing logistical support.
Guard personnel are using Light Medium Tactical Vehicles (LMTVs) that are capable of driving through high water for this mission. More than 200 additional soldiers and equipment arrived throughout the day, and other Guard members are on standby with capabilities for other missions including aviation, rescue hoist, and logistical support if required.
“Our priority is supporting the State of Michigan’s response to this situation and ensuring the safety and wellbeing of Michigan citizens,” said Maj. Gen. Paul Rogers, Adjutant General and Director of the Michigan Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. “Members of the Michigan National Guard are trained to respond at a moment’s notice when their skills are called upon – their professionalism is another reassuring example of the guard’s mission as ‘Michiganders helping Michiganders.’”
Glenn said Guard troops will mitigate the risk of COVID-19 spread during this emergency response using carefully supervised medical protocols, including pre-screening, mission-appropriate face covering, social distancing, and sanitizing equipment.
The Michigan National Guard has also been integrated into the state’s emergency response for COVID-19 since Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced the Guard’s activation on March 18th. Currently, nearly 1,000 Guard members are supporting COVID-19 response missions across the state.