Iraq vets watch as Ivan hits home
Published 10:46 pm Thursday, September 30, 2004
By By Arthur McLean
Hurricane Ivan affected everyone in the Atmore area, including our men and women serving in the 711th Signal Battalion Company A.
They had to watch the hurricane close in on south Alabama over satellite links and the Internet from half a world away.
"All the soldiers were very upset," said Mike Roberts, who is home on emergency leave. "It was immensely frustrating that all our loved ones were here and we couldn't do anything to help them."
Roberts, Harold Martin, Tim Snyder and Tony Wilson all received emergency leave to come home and deal with the damage to their homes wrought by Ivan.
But those four men weren't the only ones hit by the hurricane. "Everyone has some damage," Roberts. "But we're also happy that our family members weren't hurt in the storm. It's very discouraging to come back and see this."
Roberts is a full-time firefighter for the city, Martin works for Frontier, Wilson works at Fountain Correctional, and Snyder works full-time for the National Guard.
Roberts' home on Pensacola Avenue was damaged when a pine tree crushed the home's mother-in-law suite. When Atmore Mayor Howard Shell heard the news, he reacted quickly. "I want us to find some help for him," Shell told city council members and city employee last week. "I don't want him going back to Iraq without knowing he's getting help."
Roberts said he was thankful for the support he and his family have received. "I want to thank all the people who helped us, and on behalf of the other guys, I want to thank the community for their support," Robert said. "Everyone wants to get the job done and come back home."