Private planes dropping off flood-relief donations

Private pilots in Georgetown are flying relief supplies to hard-to-reach areas in need.

The generosity of Americans from all over has been on display since deadly flooding devastated Southeast Texas. 

Unfortunately, road closures have slowed down the flow of many of those supplies to those in need. 

It's a problem that private pilots are helping solve. 

Dozens of volunteers showed up to Georgetown Municipal Airport on Friday to help sort through tens of thousands of pounds worth of donated supplies. 

"We just calculated it, I think it's about 8-900 pounds," explained Byron Severson, who flew in from Southlake to assist. 

After landing in Georgetown, Severson and volunteers loaded his plane up, so he could fly to Orange. 

"Great way to use what we have to do something good," Severson said. 

He was one of the several pilots responsible for moving 50,000 pounds of donated food, water, and supplies - on Friday alone. 

"There are airports in areas like Orange that are on high enough ground that the airport's not flooded out the area surrounding them is completely flooded. So we can fly planes in there and get supplies," explained Rene Banglesdorf, the CEO of Charlie Bravo Aviation who helped organize the flights.  

On Thursday, she estimated pilots flew out about 25,000 pounds of supplies from Georgetown. They expected to fly out another 50,000 pounds of supplies on Saturday. 

Materials they're requesting include non-perishable food, safety masks, and cleaning supplies. 

While some of the pilots are local, others have flown in just to get to Georgetown. 

"The very first pilot to get here to take supplies, flew his plane from Boston, Massachusetts to get here," Banglesdorf explained. 

Everything - from the planes to the fuel - has been donated. 

"It's amazing to see the community coming together and Americans come together and be willing to donate. As you can see, we've flown most of the stuff out of here today. But there's been a lot of stuff we've gotten into the hands of needy people in Beaumont and Orange today," said Banglesdorf. 

While many of the supplies are targeted towards long-term relief, Banglesdorf said several local restaurants donated food to be flown down. 

The supplies are sorted at the Austin Disaster Relief Network and Celebration Church, before they're brought to Georgetown Municipal Airport.  

All those materials need to be carried on and loaded into the plane - which takes a big volunteer effort in its own right. 

"I'm helping because it's better to help than just sit around and see people suffer from Hurricane Harvey," said 9-year old Brandon Jarvis, who used to come to this airport to watch the planes take off. 

About ten minutes away, dozens of volunteers spent the day organizing those materials to be sent off. 

"It's a big undertaking.  We're better together and the more hands we have to help, it's so appreciated. And everyone wants to do their part, and everybody has a part to play," said Andrianna Jordan, the Creative Assistant at Celebration Church. 

Jordan said they're prepared to operate their intake center for 90 days, and are encouraging people to donate goods and time.  For more information, click here

© 2017 KVUE-TV


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