August 2016 is a time many in south Louisiana will never forget, The Great Flood of 2016 devastated the region. Many families lost everything during that difficult time for Baton Rouge, and countless people risked their own lives all over this community to step up and help their neighbors. Metro Health for World AIDS Day held it’s 3rd annual “The Difference Is Us” event at the McKinley Alumni Center in Baton Rouge and honored people throughout the community, including six members of the community who helped save residents in north Baton Rouge from flooding homes back in 2016. Those honored were, Eugene Weatherspoon Collins, Ernest H. Jackson, Cleve Dunn, Jr., James Price, Michael A. V. Mitchell, and Charles Pearl.
One of the stories shared was that of Baton Rouge resident Paula Collins who was saved by the group. Collins recalled her rescue on Facebook after the flood back in 2016. Collins said, “My granddaughter Bria was the catalyst that tired my niece Shekinah to post on Facebook and send rescuers to my house. Rochelle Elie, a friend and church member called and gave me a rescue phone number and after 3 hours of waiting no one came. As the water began flowing inside our home, my daughter Zavia said she heard a boat. I ran to the door screaming for help and a group of men responded, “we’re here to help you ma’am.” All of these brothers were so caring and kind. They placed their lives in danger for my family and four others including Shannon and her husband Mr. John who were sitting on top of their cars trying to avoid drowning, an ogre gentleman, wadding in the water chest deep who said he was also diabetic, one young lady standing in deep water at a corner begging for help and another who was able to join us after the boat capsized and much of the water had to be drained out with a pot and a bucket.” Collins account of what happened in her rescue is like that of many others in the area saved by people whose names were never known.
These unsung hero’s two years later, were able to be thanked by Paula Collins and others in the community for stepping up in the time of need. The photos shared show the severity and impact of the Great Flood of 2016. Much credit has gone to groups who adopted names for themselves after the floods, but many, like Eugene Weatherspoon Collins, Ernest H. Jackson, Cleve Dunn, Jr., James Price, Michael A. V. Mitchell, and Charles Pearl stepped up to be their brother and sisters keeper. It is a great thing to see their sacrifice for community honored.