For Rep. Mo Brooks, last week was anything but a recess.
Devastating tornadoes and storms ravaged the Alabama Republican’s district on Wednesday, and Brooks called HOH to discuss the recent disaster and the ongoing aid efforts.
Brooks shared with HOH that he’d been with staffers at an office meeting in Killen when the sirens and tornado warnings went off. He quickly hit the road and made it home to ride out the tornadoes in his basement.
“We decided it would be better to be back home with our families, and we were fortunate to make it home without any difficulty,” Brooks said. “And shortly thereafter, an additional set of tornadoes started hitting. The tornadoes were going in and out of Alabama for roughly 10 to 12 hours.”
After the destructive storms, Brooks joined several state elected officials on a Black Hawk helicopter to survey the damage, attended emergency meetings and visited his constituents in the areas destroyed by the deadly tornado outbreak.
“I think what’s been most notable about this experience is the volunteerism,” Brooks said. “At one volunteer location, for example, we had over 3,000 people show up to help victims clean their property. I’ve been as proud as I could be of the volunteerism of the neighbor-helping-neighbor attitude throughout north Alabama.”
As for Brooks, he was out in the damaged areas Saturday and Sunday.
“I played my small part,” he told HOH. “I had my chain saw, wheelbarrow and pickup truck. ... I was out with those volunteers in my work boots, but I was just a small part of a huge army of volunteers.”
Brooks, whose Monday morning flights to D.C. were canceled one after the other, called HOH from a cell phone running low on battery — while he was in his pickup truck.
“I’ve asked my staff to set up an appointment with the appropriate [Federal Emergency Management Agency] personnel so we can receive an A-to-Z crash course on every item of individual assistance that disaster victims may have access to so we can help those disaster victims understand their rights, understand the process and ensure they receive the help the law says they are entitled to receive,” he said.
Terri Henderson, 6, center, whose mother is El Salvador, attends a rally with members of Congress at Union Station's Columbus Circle to announce the Restore Opportunity, Strengthen, and Improve the Economy (ROSIE) Act on July 29, 2014. The legislation provides incentives for government contractors to pay a living wage and other benefits that would help low-income workers.