BARTONVILLE — A dozen members of a Bartonville-based Illinois Army National Guard unit were sent to help with flood relief efforts in Grafton, according to officials.
The soldiers, with the 709th Area Support Medical Company, based at Gen. Wayne A. Downing Peoria International Airport, are all medics, said Lt. Col. Brad Leighton of the National Guard. The soldiers have been focusing their efforts in the Metro East area.
They are part of about 200 other soldiers who were mobilized earlier this week by Gov. JB Pritzker. In all, about 400 members of the Army and Air National Guard have been called upon to help with flood relief efforts. Other units called up this week were the 233rd Military Police Company based in Springfield, the 933rd Military Police Company based in Fort Sheridan and the 1844th Transportation Company based in East St. Louis.
The deployment, Leighton said, is initially for about a week but could last longer, depending upon the situation.
Illinois Emergency Management Agency Acting Director Alicia Tate-Nadeau said in a news release that the "seemingly constant wave of storms that have generated significant rainfall, extreme levee saturation and devastating river flooding. Our priority has been protecting the life, health and safety of our state’s residents. As we press forward, our local and state emergency managers remain steadfast and committed to protecting our state’s critical infrastructure which helps to ensure continuity of key community lifelines.”
To date, the state of Illinois has provided more than 3 million sandbags, more than 2,700 rolls of plastic, 27 pumps and five dozen prisoners from the Illinois Department of Corrections to assist communities, according to a news release from the governor's office.
Andy Kravetz can be reached at 686-3283 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @andykravetz.