Friday, June 7, 2013

Oklahoma tornado recovery aided by Teamster power, Teamster sweets

(UPDATES to add volunteer in final graf.)
Teamsters are putting their hearts and their muscle into helping Oklahoma City recover from a series of miles-wide tornadoes that shattered communities and killed dozens of their neighbors. 

Today, Teamsters from Local 886 are driving emergency supplies from a Red Cross warehouse to suburban neighborhoods devastated by the storms.  

For the past three days, Teamsters from Local 886 handed out diapers and rakes, MREs and batteries, whatever tornado victims need to start rebuilding their lives. Some Teamsters are driving around neighborhoods looking for people to help; others are parked in staging areas, where victims can come to them. 

And for children, there's a special treat: Local members filled bags with sweets from Kellogg's, which the Teamsters represent. 

Our brothers and sisters at Local 886 are helping each other as well as the community. Dozens of Teamster homes were damaged or destroyed. Local 886 is giving $100 MasterCards to tide them over for gas or groceries. Three Teamsters -- Gerald Elcyzyn, Bill Underwood and Bobby Allstat -- traveled around the area looking for members whose homes were hit by a tornado. They handed out supplies, helped them apply for aid and offered cleanup crews from the hall. 

Recovery efforts have sometimes been chaotic, as is always the case after a disaster. Teamsters Local 886 President Ron Cobb has been rounding up agents and retirees on very short notice to load trucks at the warehouse or deliver supplies to the neighborhoods. On Thursday at 6 pm he got a call asking for eight Teamsters to help. "I got 10," he said. 

Teamster retirees deserve a special shout-out for their quick response and tireless work. "We couldn't have helped the Red Cross without them," Cobb said. 

Here's a list of Teamsters who've worked so hard to get Oklahoma City back on its feet.
Ed Hall  YRC Retiree
Arnold Rowlan  Sysco Retiree
Bobby Altstat ABF Employee, Local 886 Chaplain and OKC Police Chaplain
Tim Chapman ABF Retiree
Terry Raulston Retired President Local 886
Gerald Elcyzyn  Retiree ABF Freight
Bill Underwood Jack Cooper Transport Retiree
Jerry Sims Jr--UPS Business Agent Local 886
Linda Bush Laid off YRC Driver from Portland, Oregon Local 81
Dennis Duello Jack Cooper Transport Retiree
Lew Homme Jack Cooper Transport
Teamster power, Teamster sweets
This was once a Teamster home.
Visiting another damaged home.

Handing out supplies.