Navistar Inc. continues to show its commitment to the communities it serves by donating a used step van valued at $20,000 to HERO (Hale Empowerment and Revitalization Organization, Inc.) in Hale County, Ala., according to a press release.
The vehicle will help assist the organization in its rebuilding efforts in the wake of the devastating tornadoes that swept through the state of Alabama, where Navistar has significant operations.
Alan Stegich, national service director for Navistar’s Workhorse custom products business unit, and Andrea Clay, Workhorse legal and consumer affairs manager, recently presented the keys to HERO Executive Director Pam Dorr.
“This donation is a small token of how Navistar and Workhorse are giving back to the areas where employees live and work,” said William Osborne, vice president, Custom Products, Navistar. “We are committed to ensuring the community succeeds in its rebuilding efforts.”
“The tornadoes here were quite damaging for our small area,” said Dorr. “We were not sure how to rebuild with this kind of devastation, but it is clear with this donation that we can begin getting the process moving along.”
“When I shared with Pam what our intentions were, she was almost crying on the phone,” said Clay. “Pam said they have never had such a generous donation— they always just had to piece trucks together. This will make a huge difference in hauling supplies back and forth for rebuilding homes.”
The donation of the vehicle is in addition to the $50,000 Navistar provided to the Governor’s Emergency Relief Fund (GERF), established by Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley to help Alabama residents with unmet recovery needs. Donations to this fund will be used to relieve suffering caused by the spring storms. The fund, which is administered by the United Ways of Alabama, will operate on an ongoing basis to help Alabama residents who have exhausted all other avenues of disaster relief, such as FEMA, the American Red Cross, the Salvation Army and any other disaster relief programs.
In addition, employees at Navistar’s Melrose Park engine plant secured generators to assist employees at Navistar’s Huntsville engine plant when they were without power.
“Our hearts go out to the people of Alabama whose lives have been impacted by the worst domestic disaster since Hurricane Katrina,” said Eric Tech, president, Navistar Engine Group. “We believe in being a good neighbor wherever we do business and we are proud to step up and help the community in a great time of need.”
Dozens of trailers supplied by the Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA) are now on the ground in Alabama. They are set up as temporary housing for people who lost their homes in the April 27 tornadoes. However, none of them are in the hard-hit city of Cordova and it is causing a lot of tension.
According to a report by FOX 6 News in Birmingham, some residents are upset because they have nowhere to live, but are not being allowed to get one of the FEMA units. The issue is a Cordova city ordinance which prohibits certain types of mobile homes. The mayor says double-wide trailers are allowed in certain areas of the city but the FEMA trailers are singlewide.
Residents say those who lost their homes cannot afford the utilities and other expenses associated with bigger double-wide mobile homes.
Mayor Jack Scott says he is looking at other options like finding abandoned homes that may be available to rent or buy. He is is also bringing in a modular home expert.
Scott says he understands the need for new places to live, but he fears with the FEMA units Cordova will turn into a trailer park and hurt the future of the city.
“We want other people, young people, professional people to came here,” said Scott. “We don’t want them in a trailer. We want them to build here.”
Some Cordova residents do not share the mayor’s sentiments on the trailers.
“They lost everything,” said resident Judy Fielding. “They can’t put doublewides in here because they can’t afford the utilities. That is what we face in Cordova. We need FEMA’s help.”
Mayor Scott says he is fearful mobile homes will bring down property values.
This issue is expected to be a hot topic at the Cordova City Council meeting on Tuesday night.