Industry confers on aid for Katrina victims

PLUMBING INDUSTRY associations have banded together to see what the industry can do to help victims of Hurricane Katrina. The charitable effort was spearheaded by G. P. " Russ" Chaney, executive director, International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials and by Ike Casey, executive vice president, Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors --National Association On Sept. 2, Casey served as

PLUMBING INDUSTRY associations have banded together to see what the industry can do to help victims of Hurricane Katrina. The charitable effort was spearheaded by G. P. " Russ" Chaney, executive director, International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials and by Ike Casey, executive vice president, Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors --National Association

On Sept. 2, Casey served as the moderator of a conference call in which seven associations participated.

"Russ and I have had an initial conversation with the idea that if we can do something now, that would be great," Casey said. "If not, then we need to develop a strategy for reacting to these things in the future."

Casey asked the other associations if they had plans. PHCC-NA, for example, is thinking about starting a fund, although not a tax deductible one, that would donate money to members to help them get back on their feet.

American Supply Association was planning to meet Sept. 8 with approximately 20 of its manufacturer members during its annual convention in Orlando, Fla., said Inge Calderon, executive vice president.

"We're going to talk about developing a coalition in which to get some sort of organization together in donating products and make sure the products get to the right place for the ultimate reconstruction effort," Calderon said. ASA is also matching the contributions that its staff has made to the American Red Cross.

The Mechanical Contractors Association of America has contributed $25,000 to the Red Cross, said John Gentille, executive vice president.

Calderon wondered if the group would be duplicating other existing charitable efforts. Hans Tiedemann, executive director of MCA Alberta, noted that the Salvation Army is already in the Gulf Coast region serving 80,000 meals per day.

"I'm thinking more later, down the road, when they get the water out and rebuilding begins, people are going to need fittings and valves and pipe and air conditioning," Calderon explained. "Can we get manufacturers to donate goods to a central clearinghouse? Does [the Federal Emergency Management Agency] have the infrastructure in place to take these donations? We need to find out."

Calderon suggested the groups volunteer to call organizations and agencies to see what they need and how the industry can help, a suggestion that was hailed as being on the mark.

The group chose Mary Garvelink, Commercial Design Engineering, Colorado Springs, Colo., and immediate past president of PHCC-NA, as the coordinator of the effort.

Casey volunteered to call Rebuilding Together, formerly known as Christmas in April, a charitable organization that rebuilds homes for people who can't afford to rebuild. Chaney promised to call the World Plumbing Council and the World Health Organization. Allen Inlow, senior director of codes and standards, IAPMO, has a working relationship with FEMA and will contact them. Tiedemann will call the Salvation Army. Barb Higgens, executive director of the Plumbing Manufacturers Institute, said she would call the Water Quality Association. Shannon Corcoran, executive director of the American Society of Sanitary Engineering, said she would contact Americares, America's Second Harvest and International Relief Teams. IRT is a volunteer organization of doctors that provides medical and logistical aid in disasters.