Borough send help to hurricane victims

November 05, 2005|By RICHARD F. BELISLE

GREENCASTLE, Pa. - The first truckload arrived about two weeks ago and is ready to be put to use.

Two more tractor-trailer loads of building materials are assembled and ready for the long haul to Grand Isle, La., a small island community that was pounded by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

Members of the Greencastle Rotary Club adopted this barrier town of 1,500 people jutting into the Gulf of Mexico.

Grand Isle, because of where it is, felt the hurricanes' first blast.

The Rotarians in October launched their drive to collect building materials, "things they can use," said Paul T. Schemel, the club's president.

The response was more than gratifying.

The owners of Tarco Roofing Materials Inc., at 8650 Molly Pitcher Highway north of Greencastle, responded with a tractor-trailer load of roofing material.


It was that load that B.J. Roberts Jr., an Antrim Township supervisor and an over-the-road truck driver, volunteered to drive to Grand Isle.

Hoffman Transport Inc., at 485 Mason Dixon Road, donated the truck that Roberts drove. AC&T donated $500 worth of diesel fuel, the amount needed to drive the truck one way, Roberts said. The Rotary Club raised the money for the rest of the fuel, Schemel said.

Schemel said Tarco has donated a second truckload of roofing materials. Henry's Floor Covering Inc., at 825 S. Antrim Way, donated $8,000 worth of flooring materials, and the Greencastle Lions Club raised enough money to buy a truckload of plywood, Schemel said.

That and other donated materials, enough for at least two more truckloads, are in a donated warehouse the Rotarians are using.

"We're having trouble finding another tractor-trailer," Schemel said.

When one does become available, Kenneth Singhass, a retired truck driver, volunteered to take it to Grand Isle.

Roberts said he delivered the first truckload to the Grand Isle Town Hall, where he was met by J.E. LaFont III, a member of the town council.

"We unloaded it right there," Roberts said. "They were really grateful that we brought it."

Roberts arrived in town on Oct. 23. Katrina hit the Gulf Coast in late August and soon was followed by Hurricane Rita.

Evidence of the devastation was everywhere, Roberts said, especially in the streets, where homeowners stacked up the wreckage of their lives.

"It looked like bulky trash pickup day all over," Roberts said.

Roberts said the effects of the cleanup and rebuilding were evident in the town.

"It had been a while since the hurricanes," he said.

Roberts described the community as "not a very wealthy town. Their houses aren't like our houses here. There are a lot of trailers, and the houses are built on poles that are 8 feet in the air."

LaFont said his town's biggest need is temporary housing. The government brought in enough for about 50 people, "but we have about 250 people who still need them."

People left homeless by the storm are staying elsewhere, with relatives, "anywhere they can find a place," LaFont said.

LaFont said a group of volunteers from Ohio came last weekend and held a Halloween party for the children in the local school.

"Their houses were gone," LaFont said. "They couldn't go trick-or-treating."

LaFont said the town's only school, a K-12 building, is open for classes.

Overall, the cleanup is "going very well," LaFont said.

The Herald-Mail Articles