When the water was rising in Robeson County and many were leaving, there was one group on its way in. A group of highly-skilled first responders from Oklahoma and Colorado and a National Guard detachment came with a singular mission.

They were there to save lives.

“Our mission here is search and rescue in Robeson County flood response supporting local, state and federal agencies area. We are here for anyone who is trapped or stranded,” said Steve Aseltine, Task Force Leader for Colorado TF1. “We have boat teams, military vehicle and assets to help us get places other folks just can’t get to, whether it’s a swift water environment or stable water environment.”

When Florence’s conditions began to intensify and rescue calls became difficult for county first responders, that’s where this team excelled.

“The night the storm hit, there were multiple emergent 911 calls. We worked with the county to get out there before that happened and through the height of the storm,” said Aseltine.

They have spent more than a week rescuing and evacuating thankful residents in Lumberton and surrounding communities. But they are also there for more preventative measures—to provide warning.

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Originally published Sept. 25, 2018.