Solidarity amidst Natural Disasters
BAC Provides Disaster Relief to Members
Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria devastated Texas Gulf Coast, the Caribbean, the Florida peninsula, and Puerto Rico. The deadliest wildfires in California’s history have consumed 107,000 acres and destroyed 1,500 homes and buildings. Amid a string of natural disasters, BAC members, the IU and Local leaders showed strong solidarity in responding to members’ needs and providing timely support and relief for affected members and their families.
Despite the damage to their own homes by Hurricane Harvey, BAC Local 5 Oklahoma/Arkansas/Texas President David Frangione, Chapter Chair Justin Kasperitis, and the IU Regional Representative Antonio Fernandez, who live in the heavily-affected Houston area, acted fast to help members in their neighborhoods. They immediately visited members and their families in hardest-hit areas, and drove them to the Local’s training centers, which served as community hubs where volunteers came together to collect information and helped distributing water, food and clothing to others. Utilizing Facebook and text messaging as ways to reach out to their members, the Local hosted Chapter meetings to coordinate disaster relief and set up a weekly donation day to collect donations.
BAC Executive Vice President Gerard Scarano, who visited members in the hardest-hit areas in Texas, said, “Our members have donated over $100,000 after the hurricanes to the BAC Disaster Relief Fund. So far more than 150 members and their families have received donations from our Fund. New work tools were also donated to members who lost their tools.”
BAC members across the country also participated in the Disaster Relief Ride in West Virginia on August 5th, organized by BAC Director of West Virginia Administrative District Council Leroy Hunter and retired North Central Regional Representative John Mason. The ride raised nearly $8,000 for BAC Disaster Relief Fund that will help members and their families in need, especially those affected by recent hurricanes and wildfires.
Established in 2005 following Hurricane Katrina, BAC Disaster Relief Fund has been a welcome source of sustenance for members affected by natural or other disasters. The program is funded through the personal contributions of the IU Executive Board, Local Union/ADC officers, members, signatory contractors, and through IU and Local Union grants.
BAC President James Boland said that members should always remember that they can rely on the Union when natural disasters happen. “The BAC Disaster Relief Fund exists to lend a helping hand to our Brothers and Sisters in need, so please be sure to alert your Local or ADC if you have suffered as a result of the recent hurricanes or wildfires.”