177th fighter wing

An F-16 fighter jet ready to take off from the 177th base in Egg Harbor City. 

Members of the 177th Fighter Wing have been deployed to Houston to help with rescues and aid as the area grapples with the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.

The 177th announced on its Facebook page Thursday that eight Army National Guard soldiers and four Air National Guard airmen trained in medevac and hoist-rescue operations left Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst on Wednesday.

“A request came in from Texas through the National Guard Bureau looking for helicopter assets, specifically with voice capability,” Master Sgt. Chris Donohue said in a video posted by the 177th. “We’re hoping to see if we can do some good down there.”

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Members of the 177th are not the only people from South Jersey pitching in to help after Harvey.

Linda Kolman, 74, of Ventnor, is an American Red Cross volunteer at the Southern Shore Chapter, which is located on North Franklin Boulevard in Pleasantville.

She has been volunteering at the Red Cross for 12 years, and her deployment to Houston is the fifth time she has traveled to help people who have suffered from disasters.

In Ocean County, local medical supply company AvaCare Medical said Thursday it has donated thousands of dollars worth of supplies to the cause. The supplies include gauze, bandages, walkers, adult diapers, wipes, reusable and disposable underpads, medical gloves, creams, mouthwash, shampoo and more.

The supplies were loaded onto a truck bound for Houston on Wednesday.

Catholic Charities of the Camen Diocese is also deploying people to help in Texas for two weeks at a time, officials said. The diocese also iplans a collection at all Masses this weekend to aid hurricane victims.

The storm, a Category 4 hurricane when it first hit land last Friday, has left thousands of people in need of emergency shelters and has killed at least 30 people, according to the Associated Press.

Houston public schools announced Thursday that classes will start two weeks late, on Sept. 11, because of Harvey.

The nation’s seventh-largest school district had been scheduled to start classes on Monday until Hurricane Harvey stormed ashore in Southeast Texas, leading to devastating flooding in Houston.

Houston also is the largest public school district in Texas, with about 216,000 students and 283 campuses.

Donations to help people affected by Harvey can be made by visiting redcross.org, calling 800-RED CROSS or texting the word HARVEY to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

Donations can also be made to Catholic Charities USA by visiting catholiccharitiesusa.org.

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Contact: 609-272-7260 JDeRosier@pressofac.com Twitter @ACPressDeRosier

I joined The Press in January 2016 after graduating from Penn State in December 2015. I was the sports editor for The Daily Collegian on campus which covered all 31 varsity sports and several club sports.

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