National Guard doubles troops handing out water in Flint

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FLINT (WJRT) - (01/18/16) - The number of soldiers on duty to help Flint residents get through the water emergency has been doubled. National Guard troops are handing out bottled water, filters and testing kits.

Soon after the Guard began handing out water and filters, soldiers discovered some recipients actually lived outside the city - in some cases, as far away as Detroit. So, now they're asking for identification.

People are still lining up for free water being handed out at the Flint fire stations - one case a day for each household.

"We are checking IDs to make sure they are from Flint," said Specialist Eric Perriman, of the Michigan National Guard.

For the first couple of days of their deployment, the soldiers put in long hours.

"We had six guys total at this station yesterday. We worked 12 hours. Some of them stayed out in the bitter cold all day," Perriman said.

More soldiers have arrived to help. They'll deliver water to the cars that pull up, but if filters or testing kits are requested, people have to come inside.

"We haven't had our water tested, so I'm concerned. We have five kids," said Marcy Forsleff, of Flint.

After the resident takes the test bottle home and fills it, it's returned to the fire station.

"In approximately two weeks, they will receive something in the mail," Perriman said.

Many of those picking up the water and filters are frustrated by the crisis.

"It should have never gotten to the point. We're surrounded by the Great Lakes, the world's greatest fresh water supply. We shouldn't be going through this here in Flint," said Jimmy Taylor, of Flint.

Governor Rick Snyder was in Flint on Monday morning, speaking at a breakfast for Martin Luther King Day volunteers at the University of Michigan-Flint.

His office says he wanted to thank the students, faculty and staff at the school for their efforts in helping with the Flint water crisis.

UM-Flint volunteers have handed out 3,000 water filters, and nursing students have helped with blood tests.

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