When Superstorm Sandy swept across the Northeast more than two months ago, she left massive destruction and millions of affected Americans in her path. Immediately, the Red Cross deployed every Emergency Response Vehicle in the national fleet to respond to the enormous need; an event that hasn’t happened in the organizations recent history.
Now, as these trucks are needed back in their local communities, the Red Cross turned to their railroad partners to help bring them home. BNSF Railway (BNSF), located in Fort Worth, Texas, is one of those partners and on Friday, January 11, 2013 at 10:00a.m., six Emergency Response Vehicles, used primarily for feeding the masses, will be off-loaded in Fort Worth at 1001 Railhead Drive. Red Cross volunteers will meet their vehicles and return them to their local communities. One of the trucks returning is from the Dallas Area Chapter. Others are from Tyler, Texarkana, Wichita Fallas, Lufkin and Denison.
“When the call came after the storm, we started pushing out volunteers by planes and by sending our Emergency Response Vehicles,” said T.D. Smyers, regional chief executive officer, American Red Cross North Texas Region. “Volunteers jumped in and made that very long drive to New Jersey or New York. You can’t imagine our relief when BNSF, along with other rail partners, offered to bring these fleet vehicles back to us by train. Not only does it alleviate the pressure from some very tired volunteers, it also saves us incredible expense. We are very appreciative.”
Some 230 Emergency Response Vehicles will be returned to their local communities by rail, nearly 50 of those being transported by BNSF.
“For more than 25 years, BNSF has been a proud supporter of the American Red Cross through financial contributions and volunteerism,” said John Ambler, president, BNSF Railway Foundation. “This time, we’re helping the Red Cross by returning some 50 out of their 230 Emergency Response Vehicles across the nation. We’re honored to use our trains to bring these trucks back to their home towns for an organization that selflessly does so much for America every day.”
The American Red Cross is grateful for the unique and much needed gift BNSF has provided. The Emergency Response Vehicle is more than a truck. It’s an iconic image that represents hope and comfort wherever it goes. Following the DFW tornado outbreak last year, eight of these trucks delivered some 40,000 meals and snacks to people in need and delivered nearly 7,000 relief items such as shovels, tarps, rakes and more.
“We are going to be very relieved to have our trucks back,” said Smyers. “We know that we’re going to need them here at home sooner rather than later.”
About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or join our blog at http://blog.redcross.org.