When the waters rise and disaster strikes it sometimes seems that hope is lost. Louisiana is known for its erratic and unpredictable weather scenarios. Residents know that April showers can bring something far more destructive than May flowers

One group of citizens have dedicated themselves to rescue people from hazardous flooding conditions when those dark waters rise.

They are known as the Cajun Navy and they are looking to grow their numbers.

On Saturday they will be holding their second annual Search and Rescue Games in Westlake at the Entergy Kilowatt Club.

The event will be an opportunity for the public to witness and participate in a live training exercise to prepare the Cajun Navy for disaster scenarios.

Cajun Navy President Shawn Boudreaux emphasized how vital the volunteers are, and how much they are appreciated.

“We are a nonprofit organization,” Boudreaux said. “The people that volunteer to help us do so because they genuinely want to help the people in their communities.”

The Cajun Navy Relief Organization was formed in 2016 in response to the record-setting flooding that was happening across Louisiana. In 2017, they assisted in search and rescue operations in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.

Last year, they assisted with the search and rescue efforts during the aftermath of the Hidalgo County Flood, Hurricane Florence, and Hurricane Michael.

Boudreaux mentioned that the group operates by donations and holds very few fundraisers.

He expressed that without the hard work of volunteers and the knowledge of their partner organizations, they could not have helped as many as they have.

“We could not do our games or any of our operations without numerous sponsors and partner organizations such as Impact Northwest, and Brittmorre Rescue,” he said.

“Impact Northwest and Brittmore Rescue came to help us train more effectively. They have a well-structured program, and I’m proud to partner with them. We have boats and lots of people, and it’s important that we train ourselves in incident command, which is the “language” of first responders. We learn about that so we can work alongside the first responders. It takes down so many roadblocks and misunderstandings.”

Boudreaux mentioned that The Cajun Navy is looking for more volunteers beyond the actual search and rescue work during a crisis.

“Accountants, Graphic Design, IT, We need volunteers in every aspect an organization could need,” Boudreaux said

This is the second ever fundraiser for the organization, although many “copycat” for-profit organizations have appeared. Boudreaux emphasized that they are a nonprofit and helping those in a time of crisis is their top priority. He expressed that anyone who is curious about the work they do should come out to the event on Saturday.

“This event is fun,” said Boudreaux. “There will be prizes for teams and individuals. More importantly, it is an opportunity for civilian volunteers to operate with incident command structure, and learn software and apps that we use during disaster response. The day will involve mock technical rescues, simulations, and training to officially coordinate our efforts.”

The schedule of events for the Search and Rescue Games will go as follows:

8 - 10 a.m. – Registration

10 a.m. - 12 p.m. – Introduction, Briefing and Preparation

12 - 4 p.m. – Main Event

5 - 6:30 p.m. – Closing Remarks, Awards and Social Dinner

For more information on the event, and how to volunteer, log on to www.cajunnavyrelief.com