The Cajun Navy Relief and Rescue (“Cajun Navy) began in 2005 during Hurricane Katrina. In the wake of the storm’s devastating effects, local, state, and federal governments were criticized for their slow, inadequate response, as well as for the levee failures around New Orleans. As government officials continued to blame one another for failures resulting in more inaction, a group of local volunteers jumped in their boats and began rescuing stranded citizens from the floodwaters. This group of local heroes was affectionately named “The Cajun Navy”.
The mission of the Cajun Navy is to save lives. They are a group of volunteers who work tirelessly without pay (using their own personal equipment) to provide immediate rescue and relief during natural disasters. The way they describe themselves, “rescue and relief is our way of sharing our South Louisiana cultural tradition (of neighbors helping neighbors) with people in need across the United States”. By integrating civilian volunteers into the Incident Command Structure, the Cajun Navy is able to act as a force multiplier for agencies responding to disasters.
In 2016, again parts of Louisiana saw unprecedented severe flooding. This was not a hurricane, and therefore, residents did not have adequate time to evacuate. The Cajun Navy took to the floodwaters again to rescue and help stranded victims.
WHAT’S INCREDIBLE ABOUT THESE VOLUNTEERS IS THAT THEY TOO HAD LOST THEIR HOMES AND POSSESSIONS, YET THEY PUT THEIR OWN CONCERNS ON HOLD WHILE THEY HELPED SAVE THE LIVES OF OTHERS.
The Cajun Navy does more than rescue. When the floodwaters recede, the volunteers gather supplies, donate water and food, and deliver straight to people’s homes. After Hurricane Katrina, the Cajun Navy did not slow down. They assisted their neighbors through the recovery period by helping them get their homes back to livable conditions.
Recently, Hurricane Laura, the strongest hurricane on record to hit Louisiana, caused great devastation in Southwest Louisiana, especially the Lake Charles area. When they became aware that a hurricane would bring an “unsurvivable storm surge”, The Cajun Navy headed to the area immediately and started a drive for much-needed supplies.
The organization has grown and expanded to help other areas of the south beyond Louisiana’s borders. The volunteers are currently in Alabama and Florida, where Hurricane Sally made an impact. They began by delivering generators to those with medical needs and have provided more than 3,000 meals to the local community and first responders this month. To donate or get involved in hurricane and flooding relief efforts, visit the Cajun’s Navy website.
The Cajun Navy reminds us what it looks like to really give a damn in our communities, embodying the GIVE A DAMN attitude. Their mission revolves around the external vs. internal thinking about others first, and they are self-motivated individuals who simply believe, it is the right thing to do.
The GIVE A DAMN (GAD) movement is the change agent we need to become a more loving, altruistic, and caring society. By joining the GAD, you will be part of something that will help change the world – and it costs nothing. It just takes a willingness by each individual to change your mindset. It seems simple, but it is not easy.
If you want to contribute to bringing positive change to our society, please take action NOW and join the GAD movement. As millions join this grassroots movement, we will be able to share with others how vastly important it is, and more importantly, show how it will improve our lives over and over again.
By taking the American Accountability Pledge and committing to carrying out the principles of the GIVE A DAMN philosophy each and every day to the best of your ability, you will be part of an important cultural shift in mindset. This pledge simply states that you want a better and more altruistic world and that you strive and want to abide by the principles of the GIVE A DAMN Movement listed in the pledge. One person at a time.
INDIVIDUALLY YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE, BUT COLLECTIVELY WE CHANGE THE WORLD.
Once you take the pledge, could you please pass this same information on to your friends, family, and cohorts for them to also join you in this movement? You and I (we) can make a difference and more importantly, we need to! Thank you.