Arkansas National Guard helps clear icy roads
“Just to see the smiles on their faces when help arrives and we get them to safety. It’s the best thing that can happen.”
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Icy roads caused difficulties for some drivers on Friday, but thankfully heroes like Master Sergeant Gaylend Sheppard of the Arkansas National Guard came out to help those in need.
“We come with a certain skill set that helps this community in any situation. Whether it’s nationally or whether it’s a state mission, we’re always here and we’re always ready,” did he declare.
It’s an honor Sheppard has held for some time now.
“I’ve been in the Air Force for 22 years,” he said.
Sheppard repeatedly answered the call to volunteer when time permitted.
“Whether it’s an ice storm, like this, tornadoes, hurricanes,” he said.
It’s a little different for the soldier he’s been working with since Wednesday.
“This is my first act of volunteering since I’ve been there,” Jackson Chambers said.
Chambers has been an Airman for the Arkansas National Guard for only a year, and for the past two days he’s been able to bond with Sheppard in the passenger seat.
“He loves cars. We talk about his family, my family. He wants a 2006 Viper. He’s about to retire,” he said.
The two didn’t just bond while driving through the snow in their military Humvee, Sheppard said they were helping Arkansas State Police respond to winter weather issues like crashes.
“Today we helped a young woman who hit a wall and got her to safety and had her vehicle towed,” he said.
Sheppard said they are also helping essential workers get to work when they can’t get out of their neighborhood.
“Right now we’re picking up the Colonel from the State Troop and taking him to work,” he said.
The look on the faces of the Arkansans as the men in camouflage gear arrive is Sheppard’s favorite part.
“Just to see the smiles on their faces when help arrives and we get them to safety. It’s the best thing that can happen,” he said.
Whatever the mission, Chambers said these heroes answer the call.
“We are the Arkansas International Guard, we want to help Arkansas as much as we can through every storm and whatever happens. We just love helping people,” he said.
They were just two of eight National Guard teams helping out in the state over the past two days.
They will continue to help, until help is no longer needed on the roads.