MEXICO BEACH, FL (WAFB) - You don’t have to look far to find someone who’s heard of the Cajun Navy, but not many people know about the Cajun Airlift. They’re another Louisiana group playing a big role in helping Hurricane Michael victims get back on their feet.
The Cajun Airlift is a group of volunteer pilots who came together and organized after Hurricane Harvey hit Texas in 2017. They take donations and fly them to hurricane-ravaged areas.
“We do it because we can. We are lucky enough that we get to fly and this is a way to get supplies there quicker,” said Kelli Kuntz.
Kuntz loaded up her plane Monday morning and took off from the Baton Rouge area. All of the items were donated anonymously. After her plane was loaded, she headed for Florida, where Michael leveled some areas. Along with Kuntz was another volunteer pilot, Julie Jones.
“We deliver supplies to hurricane victims. It works well when there is no way to get to people who are devastated where we can just get in there where there may not be road access, that’s when general aviation really shines,” said Jones.
Jones flew donations from Louisiana to Texas after Harvey eight times last year.
“People there are waiting for the supplies, so when we get out of the airplane , they are so happy to see us and that makes me feel so good because their reaction to us makes it feel like we are doing something real good,” said Jones.
After a two hour flight to Panama City, both pilots landed. There, donations were transferred from plane to car and will be driven to Mexico Beach.
All of Cajun Airlift’s pilots buy their own gas and do not charge to fly. The only thing they ask of you is donations.
“I do it because number one, I want to be useful and help people, but I cannot lie, it is a whole bunch of fun to help people,” said Kuntz.
Visit the Cajun Airlift Facebook page to find a list of donations they need, plus a link to Amazon where you can shop and have everything shipped directly to Cajun Airlift.
Authorities say the death toll from Hurricane Michael is up to 29 people in Florida alone and could climb even higher.