A soldier’s tale of Katrina aftermath

Staff photo by Mary Kemper Former Army National Guard Sgt. Jason “Jay” Harris takes a break at his Vero Beach home with his “unit” of pet dogs.

Staff photo by Mary Kemper
Former Army National Guard Sgt. Jason “Jay” Harris takes a break at his Vero Beach home with his “unit” of pet dogs.

Mary Kemper
Staff Writer
“The smell … when we got off the C130, it hit me like a sledgehammer. It was like sticking your head in a toilet.”
Former Army National Guard Sgt. Jason “Jay” Harris, of Vero Beach, said the memories — both horrible and gratifying — of his one-month deployment to New Orleans in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina will last his lifetime.
On Aug. 29, 2005, Katrina slammed into the Gulf states, killing 1,833 and causing more than $100 billion in damages. One week later, Harris arrived in New Orleans to help the devastated residents.

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Accidental veterans leader

Staff photo by Patrick McCallister  John Haddox served in the Navy from ‘68 to ‘88. He applied for a part-time county job at Martin County Veterans Services in 1999 to get into semi-retirement. That plan didn’t work out so well — he discovered his passion serving veterans. The former supervisor of Martin County’s Veterans Services and president of the Florida County Veterans Service Officer Association was elected to the County Commission in 2012.

Staff photo by Patrick McCallister
John Haddox served in the Navy from ‘68 to ‘88. He applied for a part-time county job at Martin County Veterans Services in 1999 to get into semi-retirement. That plan didn’t work out so well — he discovered his passion serving veterans. The former supervisor of Martin County’s Veterans Services and president of the Florida County Veterans Service Officer Association was elected to the County Commission in 2012.

Patrick McCallister
For Veteran Voice
Back in 1999 John Haddox applied for a county job, because it sounded like the perfect way for the 20-year Navy veteran to get into semi-retirement. Semi-retirement, bah. The decision to apply for that job made him a very busy man with a 13-year career of helping veterans, and it likely set him on a course toward election to the Martin County Commission in 2012.

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