PARKERSBURG - The severe storm that swept through the Mid-Ohio Valley on June 29 damaged the homes of several employees at Parkersburg Exel and left many without power for more than four days.
After hearing about the financial havoc caused by the derecho, colleagues from around the world have stepped in to help through the We Help Each Other program funded through employee donations at Exel's parent company Deutsche Post DHL and will provide $5,770 in assistance to 90 Parkersburg employees affected by the storm.
The We Help Each Other fund was started in 2010 as a way to give a financial boost to Deutsche Post DHL colleagues whose lives are affected by natural disasters.
Employees at Excel in Wood County who received disaster help from the corporate office were, front, from left, Alan Sims, Joe Duff, Pablo Vannoy, Sherri Christopher; second row, Cindy Riffle, Steve Elliot, Scott Blake, John Brownrigg, Stephanie Spencer, Sandi Walcutt, Peggy Becker, Cleta Smart; third row, Dan Westfall, Dave Parsons, Brian Marlow, Mike Allman, Nathan Bradley, Chad Eades, Joe Rams. (Photo provided)
In the days following the storm, Exel employees in Parkersburg found themselves with limited options for storing and buying food.
"When I came into work the day after the storm, I found out that some of our employees hadn't eaten anything all day. The vending machines didn't work, the power was out at the nearby convenience store, and the shelves at Wal-Mart were empty," said Exel Parkersburg General Manager Scott Yetter. "Our employees were hurting."
Yetter made sure employees had food to eat while on the job, eventually rounded up 160 hamburger patties, buns, and other basics such as bottled water. But he worried about all the lingering financial toll of the storm. Many of his employees had lost most of the contents of their refrigerators due to lack of electricity and high temperatures.
The Exel site near Parkersburg is responsible for storing, transporting, and packaging raw materials and finished goods for a local chemical company with which it has had a 30-year relationship. Exel's Parkersburg facilities were also damaged by the storm, with one warehouse being without electricity for one week.
The assistance from the We Help Each Other program will make a big difference to employees, even if it won't cover all of their losses, said Yetter.
"Organizationally we preached that we care about employees and to me this was a real-life example of that caring," Yetter said.
Juergen Blohm of the We Help Each Other fund said he was happy that Deutsche Post DHL could extend a helping hand to colleagues in Parkersburg.
"We Help Each Other is a great initiative and it shows that colleagues from around the world really care," Blohm said. Since its inception, Deutsche Post DHL's We Help Each Other fund has assisted 1,200 victims of natural disasters in 14 countries.