Independence Katrina Response 2005.
A perfect time to be in Independence
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Bob Scott, Sat. Sept. 10, 2005)

A Category 5 Community Response

  • Posted Sat Sept 10, 2005

    Our town and our neighbors jumped all over this immediately. Wish we had notes on the phone calls as well, but these emails give you a hint of how this took on a life of it's own. Here's some of the email traffic, mostly from Friday...

    Sent: Friday, September 02, 2005 10:27 AM
    Subject: Independence Katrina Request for Labor Day.

    Greetings.   Apologies if this reaches you in error.

    We've seen the pictures, we want to help.  Money's a nice thought but there may be more immediate needs that you and I can do something about while other folks bring order to the chaos.  I have a motor home in my yard that we were planning to lose soon anyway.   My hope is to find someone(s) to drive it to So. Mississippi as soon as gas is available, stay a few days to help, and leave it there for someone without a roof.

    Before it leaves, I would hope we could fill it up with supplies that we think they need down there.  I doubt there's anything that wouldn't be appreciated, but for sure, things like cleaning and building supplies will be in short supply in the vast areas surrounding the worst of the devastation.

    I've called the RedCross and Salvation army.  They are overwhelmed with zillions of folks who want to help.  We want to do the most good, but it's such a big mess I'm really not sure there's any coordination or control.  With just a little thought, I believe everything we send will be useful, if not immediately, then later.

    My goal, even at the risk of bringing the “wrong” things to the “wrong” families in the “wrong” areas is to move immediately.  Several folks have suggested we wait for things to sort out a bit, and that's a good idea for the long run.  We're all going to have to help there too.  However, I know somebody's kids are sleeping outside tonight who'd appreciate AC, running water, a shower and a refrigerator ASAP.

    Any help you wish to provide would be appreciated, but most importantly, let me know if you know…

               We need a driver, probably best if two or more. They need a cell phone and have to be very resourceful to get things to the right place.

                If anybody has local contacts that can be reached, either a volunteer already there, or someone who knows the situation there, please let me know.


    Anything is better than nothing. Small is better than huge. I know in almost any cleanup people need chainsaws, tarps, ropes, workgloves, shovels, trash bags, mops, rags, cleaning supplies, hammers, nails and bandaids/iodine/gauze.  There may be hardware stores and kmarts, but certainly, it'll take weeks for them to stabilize as well.  If we took nothing but trashbags and buckets I suspect somebody would use them.


    - We need a few new tires, other than that it's in good shape.
    - At eight mpg, 1000 miles to go, gas money and food for the driver would be a help, if we find a driver.
    - The camper has a trailer hitch.  If you have a trailer, or other towable thing that would be blessing to someone, talk to me about it. It's got to be worth the gas and effort to drag it down there.

    - Pack up this Labor Day weekend.
    - Leave as soon as gas is available to get into the area.   With a one way range of  200 miles on a full tank, that may not be that difficult.
    - We only need things we can fit in the R.V.  Would really like to know what you're sending ahead of time.   If it won't fit in the camper it might as well go directly to the salvation army (please don't dump stuff in the yard.)

    Bob Scott
    Rampant, Inc.

    -----Original Message-----
    Friday, September 02, 2005 9:43 AM
    Subject: RE: Independence KatrinaRequest for Labor Day.

    Bob - what a great idea!  Not sure what you have or what you still need but I have 4 bags of girls (teenage) clothes, this was not on your list but you are welcome to those and I can get some cleaning supplies as well?  What about a cooler?  Let me know


    -----Original Message-----
     Subject: RE:
    Independence Katrina Request for Labor Day.

    Hank, you are always the first to respond.  Since then Valley Ford called.  They didn’t ask what they could do, they just said get it here now and we’ll take care of it!  They volunteered to have it ready tomorrow.     The Independence SHELL station asked what I was up to on the way and thru in a case of trashbags and will check on a gas donation.  Amazing, immediate and wonderful response. 

    Our pastor is trying to find a drop off point near Jackson Miss where a church he knows will ferry it into the war zone.  The American Red Cross called back and said, if you can get in and out without their help, then God’s speed.  They only want people who’ve got everything they need to take care of themselves, nobody’s available for hand holding.

    Sure you don’t want to come over and help me clear out all the dark beer in the fridge ?   Sat pm, backyard fire? CC’ing the Sam’s crowd.

    Hey, Bob Kubicki asked about you, so I’m going to forward each of you each others email.

    -----Original Message-----
     Subject: RE:
    Independence Katrina Request for Labor Day.

    Phones lit up.   Not sure if on the original list, but lots happening at once…

    Can’t get one email done before the next.

                This is going to two of you.

    Kiwanis John

    Would appreciate if you would call or forward email to people around town who aren’t on the list, maybe volunteer one of the new members to help with this.  There are logistic things I have to work on now (like getting a title that can be transferred without an issue).

    Anything Xerox staff can do would be great.  No money, can’t shop for stuff, just things that fit in the camper.

    -----Original Message-----
    Friday, September 02, 2005 12:22 PM
    Subject: Indp Fire. Help getting RV to Miss homeless.

    Independence Fire… .need help/want to help. 

    Have a fully equipped camper that will be ready to drive to so. Miss or other.  Would make nice temporary quarters (beds, fridge, AC, water, etc).  Will make a good home for someone when volunteers are done.   Planning to fill with supplies this weekend.   Has trailer hitch for additional towing.

    Biggest thing we need is somebody who can take care of themselves to get it down there.

    Just talked to Fred, he said IFD is planning to send two firemen to help.   Please call to coordinate if possible. 

    -----Original Message-----
     Sent: Friday, September 02, 2005 12:47 PM

     Subject: FW: Indp Fire. Help getting RV to Miss homeless.

    Wow.  Things are moving light speed.   Looking like everybody is working to same ends, now coordinating with others around town.

    Best bets:  Independence FireFighters, may have a backup volunteer if not.
    General Direction: Jackson and then south
    When: Monday/Tuesday
    Camper being repaired now.

    Next biggest tasks:  Getting/Loading up supplies.

    -----Original Message-----
    Friday, September 02, 2005 1:33 PM
     Subject: Katrina Response from Independence

    Dottie… thanks for checking in with Rick on the Kiwanis Pres/Emerg fund, and getting word on figuring out to however can collect supplies.

    …More calls… did I send this ?

    Also, not sure who will/won’t drive, but if it’s paramedics or Indep Fire, they may have a specific location they are being dispatched to.

    Sent: Friday, September 02, 2005 1:19 PM

    My wife Pat is a nurse and she was just talking to 2 paramedics at work last night that have volunteered and have been cleared by Red Cross to go to the Hurricane area to give assistance. It takes about about a week to get clearance, and they will be leaving sometime next week. They might be your drivers. They could maybe use the RV to reach many people with supplies and medical aid and then leave it for a needed family.  

    Let me know if this sounds good and I will have Pat contact those paramedics to see if they want to do this.

    Natalie and Debbie.

    There is a powerful wind blowing up here too, people want to help.

    This thread started as an email this morning, it might make more sense to read from the bottom up.            

    Would it be possible to have donations start collecting at the fire station instead of my house ?  

    I gather everybody has something brewing, is there a way to link up so we’re all working on one larger response ?

    We may be talking about several vehicles, trained professionals and multiple vehicles.  Not sure… your thoughts ???

      People looking for information ANYWHERE about how  to help started forwarding what little was out there. Up towards Jackson Miss, they were looking more for building supplies (vs basics like clothes and sheets).

    -----Original Message-----

    Sent: Friday, September 02, 2005 4:55 PM
    Subject: Re: FW: Katrina Response from Independence

    I saw this on a Purdue Forum....

    Idk if it helps but it may be another avenue of finding someone to come with. I was just given this information, and I wanted to pass it along to groups of local interest. I have no affiliation with the church or the project-I am just passing the information along as I got it.



    We will have a 24 ft. box truck at the church (courtesy of Homeworks) from 1pm to Saturday, September 3, 2005 to collect and load supplies.

    The truck will leave early Sunday morning so we can arrive in Jackson, MS Sunday night. Items will be unloaded Monday morning at Ascension Lutheran Church.

    Collecting Supplies: ELCA Disaster Relief is asking for donations and is using Ascension Lutheran Church in Jackson, MS as a collection point for the items listed below. They will be distributed throughout the gulf coast.

    Ascension Lutheran Church
    6481 Old Canton Road
    Jackson, MS 39236-2246

    Items needed: chainsaw (with chain brake, catcher, spark arrester), chainsaw ,chaps and boots with steel toe, gas can, rubber boots, gallon-sized water, bottled water, generator, extension cords, power strips, electric cords, dry ice, water purification tables, sunscreen, first aid supplies, batteries, battery powered radios, coolers, duct tape/other adhesives, tarps/visqueen, roofing nails, tools (hammer, wrenches, screwdrivers, etc.), work gloves, shovels, blankets, matches with waterproof container, bleach, clorox wipes, industrial size push brushes, garbage bags (heavy duty), garbage cans, face, masks, paper towels, toilet paper, canned food, manual can opener, cooking,tools, paper plates, non-perishable food items, food items for infants/elderly, food for special diets (low sodium, low sugar, etc), diapers

    These are the ONLY items ECLA Disaster Relief wants at this time. NO CLOTHES will be taken.

    Chunk of message back to Erin right after she called to volunteer to drive.

    You will be going to the

    First Presbyterian Church
    763 N. Blvd,
    Baton Rouge, La.

    (A fellow I know has been volenteered to go with you). I will try to solidify this tonight/tomorrow as I have not talked directly with him.   You'll be able to catch a flight out of Houston about 250-300 miles west.

    I talked with at the office.  She game me the gentleman who is on the front lines of this.  She explained that they were very well off in BatonRouge, only about 25% of the homes destroyed, only a few roofs ripped off completely.  Not much else wrong except for the usual broken glass and trees in the other homes.  It was not a good scene, but they have water, food and some ability to move about safely.  You should know THERE IS NO GAS.   You may have to go to Houston first and be able to carry what you need from Houston East, say bout 20 gals more than the tank, plus some for the generator.

    I also talked with Alexander Whitney who is the youth minister and on the front lines ferrying supplies, and moving people into the church. 

    The total population was about 600,000 on Monday. The city has absorbed about 45,000 refugees, with another 45,000 on the way for sure, and probably more after that. (Mom mentioned that the Martins parents' city in Arkansas already has 800 some families there so far.)   There are about a million or so hungry, homeless people used to having jobs and cars and homes and things that don't any more.  

    The folks at this church are been doing their best. They clearly feel lucky. There building is not the biggest in the city.  The most immediate need was for cots, somebody from Oklahoma just sent a truckload of 500, 100 of which are being used for Federal drug enforcement agents down to help.  Though it’s a ways west of N.Orleans, this is the best staging area due to the relative lack of damage.  There isn't much to the East that isn't completely gone.

    Alexander relayed his wish list of supplies, he was a lot bigger on the real basic life stuff, blankets, sheets and clothes, less on the building supplies.  Food is a HUGE issue, but doesn't think we can do a whole lot, they need stores to get supplies, all shelves are empty.  Jenny said that the one thing nobody ever thought about was underwear and socks which are in very short supply.  We're going to do our best to guess what all to fill the camper with.

    We tried to have a pizza at Angies tonight, they are very nice.  They wanted to give knock a few bucks off the pizza cause we got the wrong one (that’d be a problem except that well, it was mostly gone by the time they noticed!).   I asked if they'd consider donating a box of trashbags and the wife of the owner began building a huge box of stuff, coffee, bags, all good stuff.   It's been like that today.  I don't usually get all choked up talking about a car repair or pizza place, but every has been asking what they can do, and not taking no for an answer.  I can't imagine what you'll encounter, probably some of the worst and best things you've ever seen.

    You will take a camera right ?

     I will be leaving work about 3:30 so email me at home  Let me know if you need anything else.


    Regarding gas.  Our Route Manager from Memphis said that all gas stations in Memphis were shutting down for 3 days starting at noon on Thursday.  I do not know if the shut down was limited to just Memphis. …..


    Bob,  Have you gotten anyone to shop with the $200 from Kiwanis?  If not I can purchase things from Sams Club.  Let me know


    Well that is great!  Saturday is kind of booked already but it is a great thing you are doing here.  Most people sit back and say we should do something and here you are taking the bull by the horns!  Way to go!  I would love Bob's email.  I'll be by Saturday am with a load of items for you, heck it will be noon somewhere! 


    ...splendid idea ... Odin smiles upon you!

    (Who's ODIN???)

    I am including, a case of water & caned food, I also am willing to send…. (he volenteered his wife and teenager for a really long stay!)... I will be dropping them off hopefully tonight.

    Sent: September 02, 2005 8:17 PM
    Subject: Update on Independence Katrina Request. Need SUPPLIES and 1 more driver.

    A whole set of people are working on this right now.  I appreciate your continued support.  Tonight, tomorrow, ask your neighbor to spare a set of bedsheets, a blanket, a can of corn, maybe a flashlight (and batteries!), Toilet paper, etc 

    · The camper and whatever supplies we have will be ready to leave Sunday for Baton Rouge, LA.   We have one driver, a college student who is (gratefully) willing to skip class for a few days, but would really prefer to have a second.   They’ll get home by getting to Houston, where there’s no issues getting a plane or bus.

    · The route will be through Houston, then east to Baton Rouge to avoid gas and other issues.

    · We still need supplies.  It’s an opportunity to make life better in an overwhelming disaster.

    There are (only) tens of thousands of people needing help in the particular area we are sending to.   With the help of Embassy suites, I was patched through to local churches there.  The churches have seemed to picked up the ball where fed/state/local government have failed though some signs of response are appearing. Federal people are bunking at this particular church.  People are doing their very best under terrible conditions, to help others. I have talked with people who are regular folks, normal jobs, kids, etc, but they are working on dealing with an influx of refugees. 

    These families didn’t move out of home for a night, their homes moved away from them for good.  They have nothing. Zero,  Nothing at all. Many are having difficulty with things like Medicines, lost glasses, kids sent ahead by their parents in the store and no way to reunite or communicate.  They need basic basic stuff.   Blankets, toiletries, diapers.   Don’t care what you’ve heard from the news or the city or FEMA or the tooth fairy, I talked to real people who are trying to help other people survive day to day.   Imaging putting hundreds of people in your church basement just one night.  …and these folks aren’t leaving any time soon and more on the way.

    · The current plan is that supplies should still end up at our house at 5299 Brookside ANYTIME On SATURDAY.

    (Please, Do not even think of dropping off at the fire department.  The chief advised me that Independence Fire may respond but only if directed to do so by FEMA in Atlanta, at time they’ll be trained, then, after that, assigned through their (FEMA’s) needs and wants.  He urges you send “cash ONLY!” to community groups marked “Hurricane relief”. The fire department is not prepared to accept donations nor has the avenue to forward them on.)

    It’s important that folks in FEMA and here in town are working the longer term issues.  The people I talked with all very politely expressed that the long term response by the federal government will be as important in the future as our immediate response will be in the next few days.  These were polite, patient, giving people.  The bad news I see is that their concept of “long term” ends some time next week when the first trucks are supposed to bring food back to the stores, or they stop eating altogether.  They didn’t have a week of supplies, let alone two.

    A couple of thanks…

    ·         The Kapustas have taken the ball on organizing supplies

    ·         Valley Ford didn’t just step up to the plate, they damn near stole the camper to get repairs underway immediately.  It’ll be ready tomorrow

    ·         Drug Mart did what they do for pretty much every time there is a need.  They bent over backwards as if we were doing them a favor.  Thankyou!

    ·         Shell, Angies, Xerox, Sam’s 13 and other people you referred have been sending and contacting me.   

    Call me on my cell at 216 965-7572 as I’ll be everywhere.  If you do want to drop off a case or carton just put it in the garage or on the porch if we’re out picking up the camper or whatever.

    Thanks again… don’t forget to ask if you can borrow your neighbor’s chainsaw for a little while!

    Bob Scott

    Ps  If you have stuff after Saturday, guess what, it’ll be needed.  Next month too.   We’ll all figure out what to do with that next.

    (Message of the day.  No body, just the subject.  I think he left work early, not sure, but he arrived the next day with a pallet of water)

    Subject: Talk to me

    Sent: Saturday, September 03, 2005 8:22 AM
    Subject: Re: Update on Independence Katrina Request. Need SUPPLIES and 1 more driver.

    wow.......i'll get what i can from here and neighbors.  these people need our help - fast!! 
    we don't know how lucky we all are.

    laurie defranco

    -----Original Message-----
    Saturday, September 03, 2005 10:39 PM
    Subject: Update on
    Independence Katrina Request. PACKED and Go for liftoff.

    We are good to go Sunday AM.   I’ll meet up with my daughter in Indianapolis for the turn south.   Continental Airlines staff who live in Houston just updated earlier information that there is gas and now a direct access to Baton Rouge from the north, through Nachez.  This will shave 4-5 hours off the original western route through Houston

    What a send off!!!

    I have no idea where you all sent email, but many requested an update, so please thank them and let them know things have gone well.  We are tipping the scales at maybe 5 TONS more than the empty weight of the camper.   It’s PACKED, floor to ceiling, front to back.  Only the driver and passenger seat are open.  No kidding.

    Over 100 bags of clothes. Not little bags, trash bags. Kids, Womens and Mens, shopping bags full of new socks, and underwear.  Two pallets of water, a palette of bleach, cans and cans and cans of food, formula, coffee, boxes of soap, shampoo.  Blankets, books and toys, paper towels and paper supplies.  Just the diapers and paper towels fill the top foot or so across the 27 foot length of the RV.   

    Bag after bag showed up..  Valley Ford staff, Megos, Kapustas, Korlikowski, Teleps, Grendells, Laskes, Appenzelers, Wilsons, Boilens, I know I missed many of you.  Anonymous people snuck in while I was on errands.  PTO, PTA, Indian Guides, Neighbors, The Fallons, Defrancos, Duxburys, Northfield Presbyterian Church, one car after another.  I lost track of the names by afternoon when the SUVs and pickup trucks started.  And most of them were BACKING in the driveway to unload easier.  People I didn’t know were telling me how their door to door efforts and phone calls had gone in communities as far as Strongsville.

    People stayed to sort, consolidate, and label.  Valley Ford fixed the mechanical and electrical issues, they put 20 hours into making it trip ready.  The motor hummmmms now.  Didn’t ever sound like that.  I picked it up in early afternoon, when I went back to get the car and the old spare tire, there was a new 80 PSI truck tire sitting there.   It might as well have been gift wrapped.  They aren’t cheap and that tire saved the day.

    The right people came at the right time.  My neighbor, who knows a thing or two about trucks and loading, took one look at the camper and mountain of supplies, and brought over hydraulic jacks and rotated the new tire into the back dual axle to provide better stability and loading.  He and his wife also hand packed and balanced the weight to insure a smooth and safe ride.

    So, we’re really proud to be carrying your best wishes for the people down there.  It’s funny, the license plates are “44131”.   Seems really appropriate!

    Thank you.

    Sent: Wednesday, September 07, 2005 12:37 AM
    To: ''; ''; ''; ''; '';
    ... … and about a hundred more movers and shakers….

    Subject: Katrina/Independence - Last Message. Supplies delivered to Baton Rouge. Thanks.

    Short Version:   The camper and supplies got there and are being distributed now.   You have my profound thanks.

    Long Version:    Available, eventually with pictures, at

    It was wildly successful, It’s done  No more emails unless you subscribe by sending a message with INCLUDE to

    Otherwise.  If you want info on Katrina related things, I’ve set up a web page that will quickly grow obsolete but I’ll keep any information I collect on there for a couple of weeks. See

    I’m sure you’ll have all kinds of Katrina related projects and fund raisers over the next several years. The city is pulling together a new project right now.  Please help support that. 

    Once again thanks. 


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