Answering the call to serve

John Davis, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Fort Worth District, general supply technician, monitors sandbag filling operations near the Arkansas River in Sand Springs, Oklahoma, May 31. Davis is one of many Corps of Engineers employees working to support local, state and federal agencies respond to historic flooding in Northeastern Oklahoma. (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Tulsa District/Released)
June 01, 2019

SAND SPRNGS, Okla. – Answering a call to serve is nothing new for a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Fort Worth District, employee.

John Davis, a general supply technician, is a retired U.S. Army Solider who has lived his entire life wanting to help others. It was this desire to continue serving that brought him to Northeastern Oklahoma. He said he received a call from his boss about a week ago asking whether he was interested in heading to Tulsa, Oklahoma, to help communities respond to historic flooding. Without hesitation, Davis said he would go and was on the road the next morning. “Helping serve the America people,” he said. “That’s what we do, and we are all very passionate about it.”

Davis said he traveled the nearly 300-mile trip while hauling a sandbag machine. The machine significantly reduces the time necessary to fill sandbags, which is critical to communities trying to hold back rising waters. He added that the conveyer belt operation allows a team of volunteers the ability to produce upward of 15,000 sandbags per day. The machine, Davis added, is deployable anywhere in the United States.

Arriving in the Tulsa area, Davis was assigned to help communities near Bixby, Oklahoma. “The locals in Bixby, were in a true, true dire need,” Davis said. They had people loading sandbags with shovels and this machine was able to really boost up the community’s production in order to get the sandbags to the people that needed them most, he added.

As a U.S. Army veteran, Davis said he is proud to volunteer to support the Oklahoma flood fight response. “I’ve got multiple combat tours to Iraq and Afghanistan,” said Davis. “I was injured and put out early, and it was kind of upsetting to me at the time because they were taking away my ability to serve.”

After leaving the military, Davis said it took some time to find a job but he was fortunate to find a job working for the Corps of Engineers. “Since then,” he said, “I’ve been able to deploy to Puerto Rico, and I’ve been able to work [the Oklahoma flood fight] and it is such a great feeling to give back. Some of us like to serve, and I guess I am one of them.”