Hurricane Victims' Needs Will Persist Beyond FloodwatersPosted 10/18/2005
By Denny Kahler, AAM
As I write this month's Chairman's Message, it has been two weeks since Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans and the surrounding Gulf States area. This country has experienced the largest national disaster of our lifetime. Not a day has gone by that I have not thought about, and prayed for, all of those individuals affected by Katrina.
It will be months or years before the full extent of the storm damage is known. What we do know is that the lives of Katrina's victims have been changed forever. Thousands of homes and businesses have been destroyed or severely damaged. I can't imagine what these people are going through. As I write this article, the complete picture is still unknown as to exactly which ASA members have been affected and to what extent.
Within days of the Katrina catastrophe, meetings were held at ASA headquarters to discuss ways to help with the relief efforts. Within the week, ASA had built an interactive Web site (asashop.blogspot.com) allowing ASA members and other industry professionals to offer their assistance to those displaced and affected by the disaster. On the Web site, you will find many offers of employment for storm victims from shops around the country. Some shop owners have even offered to pay relocation expenses, provide temporary housing and provide tools if they were lost in the disaster. Employment opportunities in the insurance, paint and glass industries are also posted.
The site also contains links to the Red Cross, FEMA, The Salvation Army and other sites where donations can be made. Please visit the site and offer to provide help, tools, equipment or monetary donations to our members. The needs of these victims will remain strong far beyond the life of the floodwaters and newscasts.
Gulf State residents have still not been able to return to their homes and businesses, and worst yet, may not know if those homes and businesses still exist or the extent of damage that occurred. I encourage any affected member to post to the site and inform us of your needs and experiences. You are an ASA member and ASA members and staff are prepared to offer assistance in many ways.
Unfortunately, those who need our help most right now are also those most likely not to receive their issue of AutoInc. for some time. Communication challenges continue, but through phone calls to our members, print communications and Internet sites, we're doing everything we can to assist the hurricane victims.
If you know of ways you or your company can help someone in need, please use these industry Web sites to contribute to this important cause:
We hope to learn more in the weeks to come about individual ASA members and their needs as a result of Hurricane Katrina. If you attend NACE or CARS, please stop by the ASA booth at each event to learn if additional assistance measures have been implemented. We can work together to make a difference in the lives of our colleagues. (To read about one of our Louisiana member's personal experiences with Hurricane Katrina, please see Lorraine Wood's guest editorial)
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