Sandy brings back memories of Katrina for coast first responders - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Sandy brings back memories of Katrina for coast first responders

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BILOXI, MS (WLOX) -

If a happy moment can also be somber, Tuesday's event was a perfect example. With awards being handed out, all thoughts from the first responders were on their counterparts in the northeast, helping the victims of Hurricane Sandy.

"Now they are in the middle of it and fixing to be the other side of it and all the work that still has to be done. We hope and pray that the people are safe up there, that the responders have taken care of themselves," Harrison County Fire Chief Pat Sullivan said.

For these first responders, watching the video of what's happening along the east coast, in New Jersey, New York City, and further inland brings back memories of what they went through when Katrina struck the Gulf Coast.

 The memories that are both good and bad for Chief John Miller of the Biloxi Police Department won't be soon forgotten.

 "I remember that first morning after Katrina. We were just lost for that first few hours. It took us a little while to get our legs under us and I know they're going to experience those same things," Miller explained.  

Joel Ellzie is a paramedic who worked during Katrina. He said he understands what residents in the northeast are experiencing.

"Flashbacks of remembering what we went through and hoping that they are not going through what we did," Ellzie said. "I understand you're looking at devastation on TV, been there and wish them all the best." 

The power of rising water is also a reminder for paramedic Scott Stuckey. 

"A lot of things that I think about is the flooding that they're going through. We had a lot of flooding in this area that devastated a lot of houses and so forth," Stuckey said.

It's not just words that will help, but also action. 

"It's our opportunity to return the favor. We've actually sent several staff members and leadership personnel from Mississippi up through Atlanta and up to the northeast to assist with that recovery effort up there," explained Butch Oberhoff with American Medical Response. 

It's an effort that will be going on for a long time.

Officials with some of the other departments said they're also looking at possibly sending officers to the northeast to help in the search and rescue efforts, as well as aid in recovery efforts.

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