Sailors asked to help Fla. hurricane victims
Sailors and their families are being encouraged to help shipmates victimized by Hurricane Ivan.
The American Red Cross and the Navy and Marine Corps Relief Society are accepting cash donations to help sailors and Marines in and around Pensacola, Fla., which took the brunt of the hurricane devastation.
The Sept. 16 storm packed 130 mph sustained winds and caused millions of dollars in damage to the Navy’s aviation training hub, which is home to Naval Air Station Pensacola.
The hurricane left dozens of military families homeless.
“The idea of making a contribution is that that could easily be translated into whatever resources that are needed by those people those two agencies are helping,” said Chaplain (Capt.) Lorenzo York, special assistant for Pastoral Care with the Navy’s Bureau of Medicine and Surgery in Washington, D.C.
Days after the storm, York spearheaded an effort to help Navy medical personnel in the Florida Panhandle.
The Navy hospital in Pensacola sustained about $1 million in storm damage. Vice Adm. Donald Arthur, the Navy’s surgeon general, encouraged sailors to make donations in a statement posted on the Navy Medicine Online Web site Sept. 27.
He wrote that his staff received phone calls and e-mails from people wanting to help those pummeled by Ivan.
The base is still picking up the pieces from Ivan. The Navy has temporarily suspended orders for transferring sailors scheduled to report to the Pensacola region between Sept. 14 and Oct. 31 because of the damage.
Many sailors and their families hit by the hurricane are starting from scratch.
They lost furniture, household appliances and beds.
The Navy and Marine Corps Relief Society is paying travel expenses for families who lost their homes and would like to temporarily live with relatives.
“In Pensacola, I got a number of shipmates and friends who were totally displaced because of damage due to the storm,” said York, who was stationed in Pensacola in the early 1990s and grew up in nearby Mobile, Ala. Initial estimates put the cost of damage to the military bases in Pensacola at more than $100 million. More than 90 percent of the buildings on the naval air station reported significant damage, according to base officials.
For those who would like to donate directly to the Navy and Marine Corps families, checks can be sent to: Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society, 4015 Wilson Blvd., 10th Floor, Arlington, Va. 22203. Write “Hurricane Relief” in the memo section of the check and 100 percent of the amount will go to sailors and Marines affected by the hurricane. You can donate to the American Red Cross by clicking on the Web site www.redcross.org/donate/donation-form.asp. The donations go to military and civilian people hurt by the storm.