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Before the call for Help…Longview Council 2771 was Ready

By SK Wally Embrey, Tyler Diocesan ERC

Vol. 4, 2016-2017

Grand Knight Chris Hoefer, Deputy Grand Knight Jim Hooks and Emergency Response Coordinator (ERC) Jean-Claude Nassar in Longview Council 2771 watched the news of Hurricane IDA’s devastation on August 29, 2021. These Knights knew that soon their Louisiana Brothers would ask for help. Longview scrambled a response; They were already on it!

That evening as IDA swept over New Orleans and continued its path of death and destruction an Email reminded us of Blessed Father McGivney’s teaching to be ready to respond to our brothers in need through the principles of Charity, Service and Fraternity. The Email continued with a challenge to support Council 2771’s effort to bring needed supplies. Their opening offer was a $100 challenge to all Councils in the Tyler Diocesan to help with either supplies and/or funds. The Tyler Diocesan ERC quickly passed the request for assistance to District Deputies, Grand Knights and ERCs. We shared our efforts and intent with the Texas North/East Region ERC as well. The NE Regional ERC quickly obtained the LA ERC Chairman’s contact information and forwarded that to the Tyler Diocesan ERC who shared that with the Longview Council.

The Longview Council understood the need to coordinate with FEMA or the LA State ERC before attempting to enter into the declared disaster area. With power lines down, debris covered roads, and some roads closed, personal safety was imperative, and they knew without coordination there was a strong possibility they may be denied access. After several calls to LA Brothers, they managed to coordinate their transportation with a Police escort to the designated staging area for supplies. With their transportation, route, and an escort coordinated, next was the question “what is it they needed most?”

The LA ERC Chairman responded to the inquiry by Council 2771 providing a broad list of items needed including Water, Dry Goods, Paper Towels and Toilet Paper. A follow up request added the much coveted “tarps” of all sizes.

The Diocesan ERC sent updates to all councils updating the activities as Council 2771 sprang into action. Council members spent numerous hours collecting supplies, purchasing items required, ensuring vehicles were road ready and their trucks were as full by their scheduled departure date of September 3, 2021 (just 4 days after the disaster).The plea for donations continued in each email update and slowly donations began to arrive at Council 2771 in Longview.

On the 3d of September, the Knights were on the road loaded with supplies donated and collected by members of Council 2771 and they were headed for LaPlace Louisiana, the staging area designated by the LA ERC Chairman.Thanks to the GK, DGK, and ERC of Council 2771 their flawless execution of the Emergency Action Plan brought much needed supplies to LA Brothers in a time of need.

As donations come in from other Councils, more supplies and/or funds will be provided to assist our LA Brothers in need.

This was a great demonstration of the charitable works that Blessed Father McGivney founded the Knights of Columbus on. Our lessons learned (Relief Recipe) were clear 1) have a plan 2) stockpile supplies if you’re able 3) resource the manpower, vehicles, and supplies from Knights or those willing to donate to the cause. 4)Clarify the need for supplies 5) coordinate the safe travel route and access through checkpoints to the staging area. Then Rest, Restock and Repeat as needed. Be Safe. These Knights demonstrated a Textbook Relief Plan; and executed it with out incident.

After purchasing water, it was staged for loading on trailers. Pallets of water were priced out before the disaster and were provided in the initial email to help “spitball” the price tag for assistance. It was recommended that a council could donate a pallet or half a pallet.

DGK Jim Hooks & Chancellor Jean-Claude Nassar seated, and GK Hoefer load the truck with supplies to be delivered to LaPlace LA for Hurricane IDA relief.

GK Mike Abbate of Council 9623 Louisiana is based out of The Ascension of our Lord Catholic Church and School and they were expecting 75mph winds and instead got 150mph. The devastation is enormous. The eye of the Hurricane literally came over this town. Mike and his team are the hub for supplies and relief.

One of those pictures is of our Sacred Mother. The church across the street had the roof literally picked up off the building. Mary never moved. What a miracle!

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