Arizona Guard members return from hurricane-torn Texas

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Dozens of Arizona National Guard members returned to Arizona on Monday. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Dozens of Arizona National Guard members returned to Arizona on Monday. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
The Arizona Guard members teamed up with other guard units from other states. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) The Arizona Guard members teamed up with other guard units from other states. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Their primary mission was to maintain and fix the vehicles, trucks and helicopters that were delivering supplies where they were needed. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Their primary mission was to maintain and fix the vehicles, trucks and helicopters that were delivering supplies where they were needed. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Millions of people have been impacted by Hurricane Harvey. (Source: CNN) Millions of people have been impacted by Hurricane Harvey. (Source: CNN)
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

A group of about 30 Arizona Army National Guard members returned to Phoenix Monday afternoon after spending the last few weeks on a mission to Texas.

The Second 285th Echo Company is a maintenance unit. Members volunteered to convoy to Texas to help with the relief effort underway in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.

[READ MORE: AZ National Guard deploys to Texas for Hurricane Harvey response]

Pfc. Christopher Morales is originally from San Antonio, Texas. He said as soon as he got the email asking for volunteers he said yes.

“I was glad to go. I was able to help people that were in my state where I was from, so, it felt really good to go back and do as much as I could,” said Morales. 

The Arizona Guard members teamed up with other guard units from other states. Their primary mission was to maintain and fix the vehicles, trucks and helicopters that were delivering supplies where they were needed.

[RELATED: Arizona Red Cross volunteers join Harvey relief efforts in Texas]

“It was cool to see everyone come together, see everyone volunteer. We were not told to go, we were asked to go. So, everyone volunteered and it was cool to go home. I was able to see Texas guards and all these different guards come together and just help each other out,” said Morales.

Specialist Jean Trinidad is a communication specialist who joined the Arizona convoy. He said he felt like it was his responsibility to help the people of Texas.

[RELATED: Phoenix Search and Rescue headed to TX to offer hurricane aid]

Trinidad took care of the communication devices for the unit but also had the opportunity to help an elementary school in Houston.

“We actually teamed up with a group of engineers from Dell and we went throughout the school making sure that their computer systems and their networks and everything were still operational after the storm,” said Trinidad.

He also works in the tech field in his civilian job. Trinidad called the mission to Texas an experience of a lifetime.

“All the people that we spoke to and interacted with, you know, they’re strong, resilient and everybody’s bouncing back and getting back on their feet. So, we’re glad that we were able to experience that,” said Trinidad.

The convoy took four days to get to Texas and four days to return. They were in the field working for about a week.

Lt. Giles Flamard was second-in-command of the unit. He said the Arizona Guard members were very motivated knowing the mechanical and maintenance work they were doing was allowing a non-stop flow of supplies to flood victims

“It definitely feels good to help. That’s what everybody signed up for, to go out and help their country. And, it’s good to be back, not just to be home, but it also means that Texas is being able to be self- sustainable again,” said Flamard.

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Donna RossiEmmy Award-winning reporter Donna Rossi joined CBS 5 News in September 1994.

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Donna Rossi

In that time, Donna has covered some of the most high-profile stories in the Valley and across the state. Donna's experience as a four-year veteran of the Phoenix Police Department gives her a keen sense of crime and court stories. She offered gavel to gavel coverage of the 1999 sleepwalking murder trial of Scott Falater, and the trial and conviction of retired Catholic Bishop Thomas O'Brien for a fatal hit and run accident. She also spent 2 straight weeks in northeastern Arizona in the summer of 2011 covering the Wallow Fire, the largest wildfire in Arizona history.

Donna's reputation as a fair and accurate journalist has earned her the respect of her colleagues and community. Her talent as a reporter has earned her more than a dozen Arizona Associated Press Awards and five Emmy statue.

Donna previously worked as an anchor and reporter in Tucson and got her start in broadcast journalism in Flagstaff. Donna is a past president of the Rocky Mountain Southwest Chapter of the National Academy of Arts and Sciences and currently serves on the NATAS board. She is a member of IFP/Phoenix, a non-profit organization of local film and documentary makers.

Donna was born in New York and moved to the Valley with her family when she was 9 years old. She is a graduate of Maryvale High School and attended Arizona State University. She graduated cum laude from Northern Arizona University.

In her free time, Donna enjoys boating on Bartlett Lake, all forms of music and theatre. Donna frequently donates her time to speak to community organizations and emcee their events. She is a past board member of DUET, a non-profit which helps promote health and well-being for older adults. Donna also loves donating her time to youth organizations and groups who work to secure and safeguard human rights.

On Oct. 17, 2015, Donna was honored for her amazing work over the years. The Rocky Mountain Chapter of the National Academy of Televisions Arts and Sciences inducted her into its Silver Circle. It's one of the organization's most prestigious honors for which only a few candidates are selected each year.

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