Local group helps Louisiana flood victims

Originally Posted: Thursday, September 15, 2016 12:00 am

Felicia Frazar - Seguin Gazette
Felicia Frazar – Seguin Gazette

A pair of Baton Rouge families are getting help from a local organization with rebuilding their homes following the floods.

Craig Russell, founder of the SS American Memorial Foundation, said he heard about the two families from a supporter of the organization and close friend, who works for the local company Southern Tire Mart. 

“A friend of mine works for a national company and I knew they had locations in Baton Rouge,” Russell said. “He was going to Baton Rouge to literally look at their store that had been wiped out, and to check on the employees there. I said, while you are there, see if there are any needs there. I know they are going to need supplies to rebuild their homes.”

Russell learned two families were still working to get back into their homes.

“One is a veteran family, the other a civilian family and the American Memorial is for all Americans — we help all,” he said. “Basically, they had gutted their houses, did all of the labor themselves, but what people don’t realize is that Baton Rouge can’t get any replacement supplies. It is very, very hard. What is available is already gone.”

Following an assessment of needs, Russell began working to get a shipment of supplies together.

“They put their needs together in referencing to finishing out the inside of the house with sheetrock and insulation,” he said. “What we are doing is sending is sending all of the sheet rock and insulation and dry wall screws to finish out their houses, so they can at least get back in them. Right now, they are living in trailers in the parking lot where they work.”

Once the Preventative Tire Maintenance Group, based out of Mansfield, heard about the special delivery, they jumped on board to help, Russell said.

“They called up and said they were sending a trailer,” he said on Wednesday. “The driver traveled 270 miles last night to be here in Seguin this morning, and now he will travel all day to Baton Rouge to deliver these supplies for free. It is a team effort.”

Part of the SS American Memorial Foundations’s mission of lending a hand, is doing it in a timely manner, Russell said.

“What our foundation is about is making things happen extremely fast, so basically by the time the assessment came around and they sent us what they needed, we turned this whole project around in 24 hours,” he said.

Russell said that wouldn’t have been possible without the partnership that he has with Home Depot

“On this project, they gave us deep discounts to get the job done and then our foundation picks up the difference in the cost.

Rick Johnson, assistant manager of the Home Depot in Seguin, said the company is more than willing to help out veterans and veterans organizations where it can.

“We take pride in supporting our veterans,” he said. “I’m a veteran, probably 60 percent of the store’s employees are veterans. The company has invested about $5 million this year in veterans assistance. We really appreciate what they do.”

This past summer, Russell said the company kept the memorial, located at the Lazy U Ranch, looking good with flowers and plants, they not only donated, but helped install.

“They provided all of the plants and flowers for the warriors to come out to the memorial and they put in flower gardens,” he said. 

From organizing the delivery to driving the truck or even making donations, Russell said it was a team effort.

“The local Seguin community continues to get the job done well,” he said. “It is good stuff. The Foundation seeks to bring military and civilian families together by helping to relieve the burdens of family separation and hardships, through direct assistance for basic needs, historical education, and patriotic avenues. We’re going out there, helping Americans and getting it all done. My motto at the foundation is one American at a time, and in this case we’re helping two families.”

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