TOOLBANK DEPLOYS MULTIPLE TRAILERS TO AID IN CATEGORY 4 HURRICANE CLEANUP AND REBUILDING
Punta Gorda, FL | Fort Myers, FL (October 10, 2022) –
ToolBank Disaster Services (TDS) is a little over a week into our deployment for Hurricane Ian. We have a basecamp set up at the American Legion Post 103 in Punta Gorda, FL and have dropped off tools to various volunteer groups in Fort Myers. Thanks to our corporate sponsor, UPS, we were able to bring both of our 53′ trailers down to help with the relief efforts. This deployment is one of our largest to date. ToolBank also deployed a 24’ trailer, that is loaned to our partners, equipped with the necessary tools, for larger projects. There are approximately $342,100 worth of ToolBank tools that will be in Florida to respond to this disaster. In addition to the 144 different tool types that we loan out at no charge to volunteers, we also provide disposable PPE to organizations. This includes N-95 Masks, Tyvek Suits and bottles of hand sanitizer.
Bill Hess, TDS Director, has been working with our disaster response partners and has deployed tools to Volunteer Florida, Team Rubicon, Cajun Navy Ground Force, The Mission Continues, and various churches including Next Level Church in Fort Myers. Our contact from Next Level Church explained to Bill that they are fielding over 100 calls a day from residents asking for tools to help remove debris and trees, tarp their roofs, and clear their homes from flood damage before mold begins to form. Bill is equipped with a Ford Transit for travel in the area, and the ToolBank camper for his lodging. ToolBank will be working on contracting a part-time tool lending associate to help distribute tools from the trailers.
The Ford Fund recently invested substantially in the ToolBank to assist with the growth of the TDS program. They have been working to set up an interview for Bill with the Today Show which will mostly likely be next week. We will keep you posted when this is scheduled. Rob Gaudet, Founder of the Cajun Navy Ground Force, gave a nice shout out to out ToolBank team on MSNBC this week. The interview in its entirety can be watched at: https://topnewsshow.com/the-beat-with-ari-melber-9-29-22/. Rob’s portion begins at the 19:38 mark and he mentions ToolBank around 20:58 mark.
We are grateful to our investors from the Ford Fund, Lowes, UPS, Stanley Black & Decker, and The Home Depot Foundation. Their investment has made it possible for us to be on the ground and loaning tools within two days after the hurricane struck Florida.
Hurricane Ian was a large, deadly and destructive Category 4 Atlantic hurricane that caused widespread damage across western Cuba and the southeast United States, especially the states of Florida and South Carolina. It was the ninth named storm, fourth hurricane, and second major hurricane of the 2022 Atlantic hurricane season.
Ian caused catastrophic damage with losses currently estimated at $50 billion dollars. The damage was mostly from flooding, with the cities of Fort Myers Beach and Naples particularly impacted. Millions were left without power in the storm’s wake, and several inhabitants were forced to take refuge on their roofs. Sanibel suffered major flooding as well and its causeway collapsed. Pine Island in Lee County, Florida also suffered extreme damage and flooding, with the bridge to Fort Myers being leveled. In total, Hurricane Ian has caused at least 130 fatalities, including 5 people in Cuba, 120 in Florida, and 5 in North Carolina as of October 5, according to local officials. The death toll in the United States made Ian the 24th deadliest hurricane in US history and the death toll in Florida marked Ian as the deadliest hurricane to hit the state since the 1935 Labor Day hurricane.