By Brandi Makuski
The state’s sheriff’s association is informally adopting sheriff departments in the southeast, offering help in the wake of Hurricane Ida.
The Sheriffs Adopting Sheriffs relief project is designed to help sheriff’s office employees, and their families, who have been personally impacted by the natural disaster.
According to the National Hurricane Center, the Category 4 Ida made landfall on Aug 29—the 16th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina—with sustained winds of up to 150 miles an hour, leaving over one million people without power and at least 66 dead. It’s been classified as the second-most damaging hurricane to strike Lousiana on record.
The Badger State Sheriff’s Association president, Grant Co. Sheriff Nate Dreckman, said the families of first responders too often take a back seat during large-scale disasters.
“When these types of disasters occur, too often lost in the mix of the disaster is the fact that sheriff’s emergency responders themselves suffer a major personal and family loss while still being expected to go to work, do their jobs, and continue to rescue and help others in need,” Dreckman said in a news release on Sept. 9.
The program is designed to bring a little direct relief to sheriff’s employees who leave their families during times of major emergencies and go to work helping others, he said.
Sheriff Mike Lukas said he notified his department’s personnel this week, and he’s hoping members of the community will also step up to donate.
The BSSA previously activated the program following Hurricane Sandy in 2012, offering assistance to sheriff’s employees in Union Co, New Jersey.
When the Sheriffs Adopting Sheriffs program is activated, it ordinarily only solicits donations from other sheriff’s offices. BSSA Executive Director Dean Meye said due to the scale of destruction of Hurricane Ida, the general public is now being asked to help.
“There are nearly 5.8 million people living in our great state—think what could be raised if every adult could walk into their county sheriff’s office and donate just $5,” Dreckman said. “Think what could be raised if every business in the state sent a check for just $25 to their county sheriff. Think what could be raised if every type of civic organization in the state made a $50 contribution to the Sheriffs Adopting Sheriffs program.”
The program will remain active across Wisconsin through Oct. 15.
For more information, or to arrange a donation in person, contact the Portage Co. Sheriff’s Office, 1500 Strongs Ave., at 715.346.1400.