As Hurricane Michael unleashed its furry on Florida’s Panhandle, FHBA 2nd Vice President, Rick Ilmberger, began ringing the bell for Hurricane relief efforts. He first called and pitched the idea of loading several trucks loaded with supplies caravanning to the Panhandle for the Charlotte/Desoto BIA to member Bob Miller. They approached FHBA President Bill Truex, and so the effort began.
Their vision culminated Saturday morning as 12 trucks and trailers, loaded with supplies and identified with FHBA Door Magnets, rolled into the affected area. In all, over 6 donation sites were left with supplies, estimated to be over 50,000 pounds of product. The supplies included anything you can imagine: food, clothing, generators, pet food, first aid kits, diapers, cleaning products and flashlights. At a few of the donation sites, flashlights were immediately utilized to illuminate the donation area.
There are simply too many people to thank individually for executing this extraordinary effort. Led by the Charlotte/Desoto BIA, members and staff from Manatee/Sarasota, North East Florida Builders Association, Okaloosa Walton and FHBA staff worked in concert, organizing and collecting donated items, loading trucks and ultimately delivering the products to distribution sites.
“Feeding Florida, the states Foodbank Network, was an instrumental partner in making this effort a success,” stated Rusty Payton, CEO of the Florida Home Builders Association. “Feeding Florida’s Executive Director, Robin Safley, helped identify donation sites who were accepting the variety of donations collected by FHBA members. Her intelligence ensured our efforts were not in vain.”
Saturday’s effort was organized rather quickly. FHBA President, Bill Truex, wants to ensure every Local BA and all FHBA members, there will be other organized BA efforts. “Stay tuned for additional opportunities to help with the hurricane ravaged area. There will be other organized opportunities for you to assist the hurricane victims. Having now toured the area personally, I have no doubt relief efforts will be required for a lengthy time period. FHBA will be coordinating with your area Vice Presidents regarding future efforts.”
If you or your local are undertaking efforts, please let us know so we can track the work of our members. Many of you have asked about monetary donations. The North East Florida Builders Association has a charity whose purpose dovetails with such hurricane relief efforts. All cash donations should be sent to the NEFBA Charitable Foundation, with a reference to Hurricane Michael. Thank you NEFBA!
Lastly, we want to extend special thoughts and prayers to members and staff of the Bay Building Industries Association. We are still attempting to learn how many of our members faired. Gloria Feeney, Bay BIA Executive Officer, reports that the Bay BIA building has no roof and everything inside is wet.
It was a great day for the Home Building Industry as we showed our collective compassion. There is a great deal of work ahead of us as we help to literally rebuild the Panhandle.