ROGERS, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Dozens of Northwest Arkansas volunteers are making their way to Louisiana.
“Nervous? I think there’s always a little bit of anxiety that comes along with that,” said volunteer Michael Nimmo. “But I think we’re prepared overall.”
On Sunday (August 30), 40 members of local disaster relief group, Sheep Dog Impact Assistance left to help those devastated by Hurricane Laura.
“When people experience trauma, especially after a natural disaster, feeling that life is going to get better is truly the most important part of that,” said CEO and founder of the nonprofit, Sergeant Major Lance Nutt.
Sergeant Major Nutt said the mission isn’t just beneficial to those getting the help, but for the members of Sheep Dog as well. The group is made up of veterans and first responders who are encouraged to ‘struggle well.’
“For the men and women that are going, a lot of them are combat vets that feel like maybe their time of service is coming to an end,” Nutt said. “Feeling like they can give back helps a lot of them mentally, spiritually.”
Nutt said it helps overcome trauma experienced in the line of duty.
“When you leave the service or you’re not serving as a first responder any longer, you almost feel like the best thing you’ve ever done is behind you,” Nutt said. “We teach that it’s the exact opposite.”
“As Sheep Dogs, it enables us the opportunity to serve once again,” Nimmo said. “After all, helping is healing.”
This isn’t Nimmo’s first mission. Nimmo is a marine veteran and said he’s more than ready for the challenges ahead.
“There’s always a lot of unknowns, but as Sheep Dogs, we’re prepared for situations like this,” Nimmo said. “We are the men and women who run into burning buildings and run toward fire fights.”
“I always like seeing them come back with that sense of empowerment when they come back,” said Emily Nimmo, Michael’s wife. “They have that fulfilled sense of service again and it always kind of lights their fire.”
As volunteers set off for the hours long drive, Sergeant Major Nutt left them with some words to remember.
“Just encouraging them to remember that the most important part of what we do is making people feel that help is there,” Nutt said. “We need to appreciate that being kind, being courteous, is truly the most important thing we can do.”
The volunteers will be in Louisiana for about a week before coming home to reassess the situation and deploying again.
Nutt said the mission is expensive and the nonprofit is always looking for support, by way of donations or prayers.