Servicemembers in Europe do their part to assist hurricane victims
September 8, 2005
WüRZBURG, Germany — Thousands of miles may separate European servicemembers from the storm-ravaged Gulf Coast, but the human toll of Hurricane Katrina has hit close to their hearts.
The Air Force’s 2nd Air Support Operations Squadron held a five-hour carwash Sunday at Leighton Barracks that raised $2,912.92 for the American Red Cross Disaster Relief program, the charity’s Würzburg station manager said.
“We were hoping to raise about $300, and, if we were lucky, maybe break the $500 mark,” wrote Maj. Kirk Faryniasz, the project officer, in an e-mail before going on leave this week. “The outpouring of generosity from the community was amazing and beyond anyone’s expectations.”
Lt. Col. Joseph Dill, the squadron commander, said one woman gave $300 to have her car washed, and many others paid $20 or $50. Others simply stopped and donated money.
“From 10:30 to 3:30, we washed cars nonstop,” he said. “We’re thousands of miles from home, and we wanted to do something.”
For many in the Würzburg area, Hurricane Katrina is a hometown tragedy. Station manager Jo An Miller said the Red Cross office has helped about two dozen soldiers trying to find information about family members in Louisiana and Mississippi. By early this week, she said, all who had left their names and phone numbers had found their loved ones safe.
Spurred by a disc jockey who is a New Orleans native, a veterans bar in nearby Kitzingen is planning a karaoke weekend to raise money for hurricane victims.
Masandra McAuliffe, a DJ at My Place near Harvey Barracks, said the club will open its karaoke microphone at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Anyone who wants to sing will have to donate $1, and anyone who wants that person to stop singing must donate $2. Bidding will continue in $1 increments. Proceeds will go to Charity Hospital in New Orleans, which has been plagued by power outages, clogged sewers and looters since the storm.
“It’s a great way to raise money,” she said. “Last December we raised almost $2,000. We raised $300 on one song.”
McAuliffe, whose husband is a soldier in the Kitzingen-based 121st Signal Battalion, said she learned her family in New Orleans is safe, and her apartment in the French Quarter is so far above the floodwaters.
Still, she worries.
“A lot of our customers are from the New Orleans area,” she said. “We’re constantly seeing it on television. If I could be down there, I would be.”