Hurricane Ian nears Fla. landfall; Charlotte organization ready to help

Curtis Drafton and his nonprofit, US Veterans Hall of Fame, have been assisting with rescue and relief efforts for years.
Published: Sep. 27, 2022 at 10:28 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - As Hurricane Ian sets its mark on Florida’s Gulf Coast, a local veteran and his non-profit are standing by to help.

Curtis Drafton and the US Veterans Hall of Fame are no strangers to helping hurricane victims. His first trip to a storm-ravaged area was 2005 after Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans.

“For us it’s like, OK we know for sure they’re going to be some people who, as best as the governor gave the issuance of evacuations, some people can’t make it out. So, we just need to be cognizant enough to know that no matter what, in any situation, somebody is going to need help, so why not us? Let’s go do it as veterans,” Drafton said.

The decision to go to Florida, he says, was made over the weekend.

“I woke up again on Saturday I called my guys and two words you ready?” he said.

Drafton and his crew will leave Charlotte overnight Tuesday, getting to the Tampa Bay area before Hurricane Ian makes landfall Wednesday.

“We will find a little place where we can hunker down. We chalk all the tires on all the vehicles and then we just ride the storm out, you know, 140-150 mile an hour winds come it rocks you like crazy, but that whole time we all know that we got each other’s back as brothers,” Drafton said.

Once the storm passes, it’s all hands on deck.

“We coordinate with sheriffs, counties, constables, parishes, if we were in New Orleans, and they tell us okay, if you guys can take care of this we can put our main resources like the Coast Guard in the deeper ends up things with helicopters,” he said.

A helping hand for so many people in their time of need.

“To them, I know it means everything. And that, in turn, means everything to us that we took them to that level of everything, he said.

For more information on how you can help with relief efforts, CLICK HERE.