Missouri Task Force 1 Returns to Columbia

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COLUMBIA - Missouri Task Force One returned to Columbia Wednesday following a weeklong deployment to the east coast to help with Hurricane Sandy relief efforts.

The team departed New Jersey around 8:30 a.m. Eastern Time Tuesday morning and passed through Indianapolis Tuesday night.

Once the task force members stepped off their charter buses, they went through a seven-step debriefing process at the fire district.  Eighty men and women checked in equipment before going through a quick medical process where blood pressure was checked.

While going through the screening process, 100,000 pounds of equipment was unloaded.  The team took a twelve-vehicle convoy, which included tractor-trailers, pick-ups and semi trucks.

Task Force member Chuck Leake said the trip home was uneventful and he's happy to be home.  He said the visit turned into a humanitarian mission and was a mission unlike any other.

"There were infrastructures down, and a lot of flooding.  People were cold and in the dark, sleeping in temperatures that were near freezing at night and no one had gotten to them yet."

Leake said the task force's goal is to help people any way they can.  He said he believes they were able to touch many lives and is proud of what they accomplished.