JEFFERSON CITY — Eighteen Missouri Department of Natural Resources' State Parks employees and more than 50 Missouri Department of Transportation employees are heading to Florida this week to help with cleanup in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma. The state of Florida requested assistance from other states over the weekend.
"Our Missouri State Park staff are trained to handle natural disaster cleanups and were quick to volunteer and help in any way they could," DNR Director Carol S. Comer said. "I wish the crew safe travels and can't thank them enough for generously giving their time to those in need."
The Missouri crews deployed from Sikeston on Tuesday morning heading to Tallahassee, Florida, to receive their work orders. They are taking a variety of equipment with them, such as loaders, road tractors, backhoes, chainsaws and trucks. Their primary responsibility will be debris removal from roadways. The crews are prepared to be out of state for up to two weeks.
In addition, the Missouri Parks teams will work in some of Florida's state parks, cleaning up fallen trees and other debris left by the Category 4 storm. According to preliminary reports, 168 of the 174 state parks have been closed due to storm damage. Two Missouri park rangers will provide asset security during the deployment.
"I'm so proud of the outpouring of volunteers for this mission. However, I am not surprised," MoDOT Director Patrick McKenna said. "We have great employees who continue to step up and show true dedication to serving others."
As the remnants of the hurricane continue to move into other states, Missouri will stay ready to assist with other emergency requests as needed.