Louisiana-made Hesco baskets crucial in flood fight

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wwltv.com

Posted on May 13, 2011 at 6:18 PM

Bill Capo / Eyewitness News

The sound of industrial staplers rattles through this Hammond plant like machine gun fire. As fast as they can, 30-workers are making Hesco Baskets for the Mississippi River flood fight. It is an unexpected battle that boosted demand for Hesco Baskets by 200-percent this spring, and the fight started in Canada.

"We have not been as busy as we are this year," said Hesco Bastion USA Accounting Director Jared Lyons.  "We have been busy since January 14th. We started as far north as Manitoba, Canada, and it has just moved its way south."

The Hesco Bastion company makes them in Hammond, Louisiana, and in England for use worldwide, from armoring military bases, to hurricane protection. This spring, they had to add staff and work overtime to make one and a half miles of Hesco baskets every day.

"These guys have been working twelve hours a day, thirteen hours a day, straight through other than about a half a day on Mother's Day that we worked," said Lyons."

"It never slows down," said Hesco Basket Assembler Jesse Cooper of Ponchatoula, Louisiana.

"You got to keep on building them, you know. By the time you get home at night, how tired are you? On a scale of one to ten, probably eight and a half."

Fifteen miles of Hesco Baskets were used from Dauphin Island to Cameron during last year's oil spill, but now the state of Louisiana needs them desperately to protect towns like Morgan City and Amelia from flooding.

"Between the governor's office, DOTD, and the Corps of Engineers obviously, they are calling every day," said Lyons.

"I'm pretty tired, but you know it is for a good cause, so that's what keeps me going," said Hesco Basket Assembler Benji Cox of Springfield, Louisiana.

"Sunday night by midnight these units need to be installed," said Lyons.

But there are smiles here during the hard work, because they are helping Louisiana residents.

"I think it is crazy that it is flooding like that. I'm just glad we could help," said Cooper.

"We're helping somebody, saving lives, so that keeps us smiling," pointed out Cox as he shifted to work on a new position. I'm in your way, aren't I? Yes sir."

And guess what, just about the time they finish the flood fight this year, well, it wlll be hurricane season, so the work never ends at Hesco in Hammond.

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