Hurricane Katrina: Year and a Half LaterPosted 3/1/2007
By John Scully, AAM
The purpose of our trip was to work, and I don't mean the administrative kind. The kind of work I'm talking about was good, old-fashioned, roll-up-your-sleeves assistance to help a shop owner take one more step toward reopening his business. We were outfitted in our work clothes and safety equipment.
Tim Gilthrope, president of ASA-New Orleans, assigned us to Metal Menders for painting walls or whatever else Ray Dauterive, the owner, needed us to do. Before the end of the day, we finished our assignment and felt that we had made a difference. But I truly believe we benefited more from the experience than Ray.
Imagine spending a day at your job and then going home to a FEMA trailer issued by the Federal Emergency Management Agency parked next to the home where you were raised. (It's not uncommon for their parents and other relatives to be in the same situation.) Some individuals who have had their homes restored haven't moved in yet because they are busy helping others get back on their feet. One shop has placed all of its equipment on rollers and purchased a delivery truck in case there is a need to evacuate again. There are many stories of this nature in the New Orleans area today, but, most likely, you aren't hearing about them.
Members we met with suggested we develop a disaster recovery manual to share with other members. That process will get under way in June of this year. Shared experiences will be compiled into a document that everyone will benefit from, regardless of which region of the country they live in.
Please join me in assisting our members return their businesses to working order so they may serve consumers in the Greater New Orleans area again. The same holds true for our colleagues in the Gulf Coast region. Direct your suggestions and offers of assistance to B.J. Johnson at (800) 272-7467, ext. 295, or to my office at ext. 247. If you are a supplier and have an interest in helping, please contact me directly. ASA will coordinate the assistance through our office. We simply cannot forget these individuals.
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