G-FAST response team jumps into action to clean up following Jefferson County storms

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By: Katie Kaplan | WCTV Eyewitness News
May 21, 2020

JEFFERSON COUNTY, Fla. (WCTV) -- Wednesday night was a scary for some in Jefferson County, as a powerful thunderstorm ripped through parts of the county.

No one was injured, but the storm severely damaged at least one home and left behind quite the mess.

The Georgia-Florida Aviation Search Team wasted no time arriving to the scene, armed and ready to get to work.

"We brought kind of a wide array of stuff, but we can handle any situation," Said G-FAST founder Richard Connell.

They spent hours Wednesday night cutting dozens of trees and clearing debris from the roadways and driveways, all for free.

"It's a good way to help and give back to the community," said G-FAST member Dell Loveless.

The volunteer emergency response crew is an invaluable asset to the small, rural community, where resources can be strained.

"We are a full-service sheriff's office," said Jefferson County Sheriff Mac McNeil. "We enforce the law, we cut trees down, clear roads, chase cows. You name it, we do it."

McNeil says he relies on G-FAST for all sorts of needs, from storm recovery to search and rescue, and even manhunts, as the non-profit has an arsenal of tools.

"We got boats, helicopters, airplanes, any kind of equipment. Generators," Connell listed.

Founded in 2016, there hasn't been a dull day on the job since.

"Everyone of them," said Kash Connell, a G-FAST member. "They're all different. Everything's fascinating. Ain't nothing borting."

Based in the Big Bend, G-FAST travels all over the country, helping people when they need it the most.

The organization is comprised of pilots, former law enforcement, boat captains and entrepreneurs. Their assistance can be requested by clicking here.