INDIANAPOLIS — 45 members of Indiana Task Force 1 returned home Saturday afternoon after spending eight days in Louisiana.
The team deployed as an urban search and rescue team ahead of Hurricane Ida, and they assisted in secondary searches in and around New Orleans.
Friends, family and coworkers welcomed the group home, including some members of the Plainfield Fire Territory, who had two members deployed.
"These men and women take their time to go out and help others in a time of need, so for us to be here and show our support, I know it means a lot to them and it's something for us to do to be able to do our part to help them out," Dustin Moffitt, a lieutenant with the Plainfield Fire Territory, said.
Audrey Perkins, 7, and her grandma made a sign to welcome her dad Matt, who works with the Indianapolis Fire Department, home.
She says she's proud of her dad for helping others and is excited and happy now that he's back in the Hoosier state. The family says Hurricane Ida was his second deployment; the condo collapse in Surfside was his first.
"Our people make a sacrifice, but so do our families," Task Force Leader Gerald George said.
Members were tested for COVID before debriefing and reuniting with family.
"It's good to come back. In a hotel room last night, for the first night the bed was good, but getting home tonight in everybody's bed will be a lot better for everybody," George said.
The task force's deployment to Louisiana comes six weeks after the team returned home from Florida, where they helped with recovery efforts at the site of the condo collapse in Surfside.
George believes 10 federal task forces responded to Louisiana, and some of those teams remain there.