MS National Guard members take on unique mission in the Capital City

Published: Sep. 13, 2022 at 7:52 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Governor Tate Reeves activated the MS National Guard to take on a mission unlike any other in the state. They are on the front lines of the Capital City’s water crisis.

Men and women from across the state are serving their fellow man in a unique detail to meet the need for safe drinking water. Smith Willis Stadium is one of the guard’s distribution sites where they’re seeing 2,500-4,000 vehicles pass through each day.

“I’ve been overseas deployed, but this is a lot different,” said MS Army National Guard Staff Sgt. Elijah White.

The 22-year-old from Louisville has been in Jackson for two weeks distributing water. This deployment is unlike responses to disasters like hurricanes or tornadoes.

“This is a lot different because in that time of need, like you see these people, you see the hurricane,” said White. “They don’t have anywhere to live. They don’t have houses, but like the water situation is kinda unknown. This is America. Everybody’s supposed to have water.”

Guard members come from various units across the state, but they said it’s their duty to leave their jobs and families to offer help.

“I was on COVID orders, and I went to Washington DC during the riots,” said MS Army National Guard Spec. Melvin LeFlore.

He is from Greenwood and sees a community grateful for the assistance.

“They tell me that sometimes they get these water problems, but like I said we’re here to help,” said LeFlore. “We give out water, make sure they’re straight, give us good conversation, really nice people.”

It’s a hard day’s work in the Mississippi heat moving, stacking, and hauling the cases, but service members said they’re happy to help in their home state.

“It’s what we do. We go where they need us to go,” said MS Army National Guard Sgt. Mikki Peterson.

The Silver Lake resident has done two DC missions and has compassion for the mothers in need.

“I have had some moms that were really grateful to get the water because they’re like, ‘I don’t know how to make my baby’s milk today,’ and as a mom, that’s a great thing to be able to see that we could help them out,” said Peterson.

MS Air and Army National Guard members are serving at three sites in the city.

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