Thank You Escambia County, Florida
“Ronnie Mac was there first!”
By Dan Ellis
Sandy Ammons was part of the second wave of support team members to reach the Pass. The first crew had completed its 5-day Disaster Relief engagement which began within hours following Katrina’s second landfall.
Ammons had spent her seven days in Pass Christian, seeking out folks who had stayed the storm. She was accustomed to some of the stories told, but, nevertheless, was passionately affected by them. One was an aging Handy who had nothing left. Ammons secured him a tent and other supplies to provide him with comfort. She distributed water and food whenever someone was encountered. Most were still dazed. She was speechless when attempting to describe the horrendous destruction and devastation that was everywhere to be seen.
Sandy Ammons knows what it is to be a victim. She had personal experiences with hurricanes Andrew and last year’s Ivan that created major destruction to Florida’s panhandle.
As a member of EMS, she has nothing but praise for Ronnie Mac and his whole Emergency Response Team of which she is a part. “Ronnie Mac,” as she calls him, is Ronnie McNesby, Sheriff of Escambia County, Florida which includes Pensacola.
Special Response Team
Emergency Medical Services and the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office have worked cooperatively over the past four years to develop a medical/law enforcement response team for high profile events. Escambia County EMS personnel received specialized training related to medical tactical response. Through their efforts, immediate medical care has been made readily available to law enforcement officers and others requiring treatment during these specialized events.
Disaster Response Team
The Disaster Response Team is even broader and is trained to engage as first responders supported by high-technology equipment and a great degree of human care that was demonstrated in Harrison County — having its own First Responders decimated by Katrina’s wrath of tornadic winds and storm floods. Harrison County was left with no communications. No radios. No telephone land lines. No Cell towers. Cities like Pass Christian had lost nearly all of its police vehicles and fire engines.
Escambia Sheriff’s Office
Ronnie Mac was there at the fore-front of his units. He brought in a large Communications Van and motorcades of equipment to distribute throughout Harrison County. At his orders, other trucks were loaded with supplies, water, and food that was brought to his rendezvous at the intersection of I-10 and Hwy 49. Ronnie was everywhere during the first weeks prompting his deputies and the firemen as well as other Escambia County departments and volunteers such as the Olive Baptist Church members who did the cooking, the Transit Company sent gasoline, and the Escambia Road Department cleared the streets and roads during the first week of Pass Christian’s aftermath.
The Francis Foundation
Kansas volunteers, who brought in nearly $200,000 of equipment and supplies, remarked that the Escambia Sheriff's Office was the only one they worked with. They distributed the truck loads of supplies and provided security. “They have done a hell of a job for all of Harrison County. They were the first in and didn't wait for an invitation. They ate the same food that the survivors did. I watched as a captain and his wife and son passed out supplies. This was the only way the captain got time to spend with his family. I don't know how you pay back these folks,” remarked Dave Francis with the Francis Foundation.