Editor’s Note: This article was sent to THE OBSERVER in the Port of South Louisiana Port Journal for the fall of 2021. Read the full fall 2021 issue here.
BY MISTY MILIOTO
Before, during and after Hurricane Ida, one of the most devastating hurricanes to ever make landfall in Louisiana, businesses and organizations across parishes on the river came together to support the community with vital resources.
As gas and supplies dwindled, Greenfield Louisiana stepped in to distribute both, while companies such as Marathon Petroleum Corporation, Magnolia Petroleum Company, Dow Louisiana, Valero and CRC Global Solutions partnered with the Port of South Louisiana to supply meals, supplies and funding for St. Charles Parish and St. John the Baptist.
“Following the arrival ashore of Category 4 Hurricane Ida on August 29, it took a collective effort to support the ongoing restoration and recovery efforts,” said Taryn Rogers, director of community relations and government affairs of Valero. “Valero was ready to support our employees, our community partners and our neighbors in Louisiana. “
Once he was sure to do so, Valero swung into action by deploying his own hurricane relief teams to assist employees with food, fuel and supplies, as well as equipment. and labor to help with home repairs and debris cleanup efforts.
Within a week of making landfall, Valero provided employees with 9,400 meals, 35,000 gallons of fuel, 700 cans of gasoline, 60 pallets of water or sports drinks, 200 chainsaws, 200 residential generators and 300 extensions. The company also helped repair 156 homes.
“Not only did Valero respond to its employees, the company also immediately responded to its neighbors and other members of the local community,” Rogers said.
To help the community, Valero worked closely with St. Charles Parish President Matthew Jewell and his team at the St. Charles Parish Emergency Operations Center. Immediately after the storm, Valero coordinated and distributed nearly 5,000 meals to community members in Saint-Charles and Saint-Jean-Baptiste parishes, including the Saint-Charles Parish Community Distribution Center, the service of fire in the parish of Saint-Charles, the sheriff Saint-Charles office, the community distribution center of the parish of Saint-Jean-Baptiste, the school system of the parish of Saint-Charles and employees of the Army National Guard who responded to the parish of Saint-Charles.
“We responded to the immediate needs of our Community Advisory Committee members and other fence neighbors by delivering ice, water, blue tarps and other supplies to homes,” Rogers adds.
Valero also made monetary donations to the American Red Cross in the amount of $ 250,000 for urgent needs such as shelter, cleaning supplies and other necessities for those displaced from their homes. Convoy of Hope also received $ 200,000 for the distribution of hygiene kits, and the Second Harvest Food Bank received $ 50,000 for meals.
“In the aftermath of Hurricane Ida, we issued a total of 600 Valero fuel cards to St. Charles Parish Hospital employees, St. Charles Parish firefighters, and EOC members and staff from the St. Charles Parish Hospital. St. Charles Parish, ”said Rogers. “In addition, we have provided several tents and other equipment to organizations organizing community distributions throughout St. Charles Parish. “
Valero also made in-kind donations of items such as baby wipes to community centers like the one hosted by United Way St. Charles at Valero River Parishes Community College. And on October 5, Valero provided volunteers from its Saint-Charles and Meraux refineries to unload an 18-wheeler truck full of supplies. Volunteers organized the supplies under the distribution tents and distributed them to community members in need.
“Protecting our employees and the communities where we work and live is vitally important,” says Rogers. “Valero considers our people to be our greatest asset. So in times like these, we want to support them. At the community level, it is important for us to maintain a close relationship with our neighbors and the local administration of Saint-Charles parish. We all share the common goal of making our parish a great place to live and work.
Meanwhile, Greenfield Louisiana has supported the community by providing 20,000 gallons of gasoline and over 4,000 hot meals.
“In Greenfield, when the crisis erupted, we knew our role in the community would be to get food and fuel to those in need as quickly as possible,” said Cal Williams, director of operations at Greenfield. “We called across the region to find available fuel and water and get them to the community as quickly as possible. “
Williams also thanks Louisiana’s vibrant community for supporting recovery efforts.
“The community turned to our emergency response teams for safety and accommodation; our health professionals for health care; our newsrooms for information; our policy makers for leadership; our associations for the recovery of aid; our pastors for the faith; and our neighbors, friends and family for emotional support, ”he says. “We have all come together in this time of darkness to enlighten the community. “