Des Moines, IA - As Iowa Governor Chet Culver declared 83 of Iowa's 99 counties as disaster areas, Ruan Transport Corporation, one of America's leading commercial carriers, was already hard at work, among the many companies displaying grassroots corporate citizenship during a time of need. Ruan has remained on a roll of goodwill, assisting customers and individuals impacted by flooding and tornadoes in the Midwest in May and June. For example, over the past two months, Ruan has coordinated relief efforts to Cedar Rapids and Parkersburg, Iowa as well as to Shelbyville, Indiana and Manhattan, Kansas.
The first initiative this season took place in late May when Ruan partnered with the American Legion Riders 663 (ALR 663) of Urbandale, IA, to coordinate donations for Parkersburg, IA, tornado victims, providing food, clothing, and other survival items along with a Ruan driver and a semi-trailer truck. The endeavor was so fulfilling, Ruan coordinated a second donation campaign, along with a driver and truck, the week of June 2 for Parkersburg.
Paula Shepherd, a Ruan accounting assistant, initiated much of this effort within Ruan and also with ALR 663, of which she's a member, to provide thousands of supplies and more than $1,000 to Parkersburg residents. Seven people were killed and more than 70 people were injured in the Sunday, May 25 tornado that cut a path nearly a mile wide and 50 miles long.
"When Tom Hitchcock, another member of the ALR 663, arrived in Parkersburg, he was devastated by the destruction and knew that what we were doing to help was very necessary and appreciated," says Shepherd. "That's why we started the campaign all over again. Even with the more recent flooding, the city of Parkersburg still needs assistance in regaining its footing."
When Iowa experienced record flooding in subsequent weeks, Ruan's Des Moines, Iowa, terminal collected several truckloads of bottled water to send to Cedar Rapids, Iowa's second largest community and one of the hardest hit, where an estimated 24,000 residents were forced to leave their homes.
Ruan also has assisted in Indiana where tornadoes and floods have taken a toll this summer and where Ruan provides service with terminals in nine different cities. Ruan provided 40,000 pounds of relief to four counties by filling a 53-foot Ruan trailer.
Ruan drove its supply-laden truck to the Wal-Mart in Shelbyville, Indiana, for distribution of items by its own volunteer base and the Salvation Army offices in Bartholomew, Hancock, Johnson and Shelby Counties. Ruan collected over 200 cases of water, food such as canned goods and non-perishable items, as well as paper products and personal care items such as toothbrushes, toothpaste, deodorant and soap.
When an urgent call came in late in the day on June 13 from a Target Store to the Distribution Center in Topeka, KS, Ruan came to the aid of Manhattan, KS. A June 11 tornado ripped through homes, businesses and the Kansas State University campus, causing major damage and leaving many people homeless. Ruan driver Jeff Allen overheard Terminal Manager Kevin Jones arranging the relief load and volunteered to stay on the job, despite being only hours away from a planned family vacation.
Within two hours of the call the truck was loaded, and Jeff and Kevin were headed to Manhattan. Ruan again donated the services of truck and driver to provide an emergency delivery of products to assist those in need in a storm-ravaged town.
Local Target staff in Manhattan, KS, presented driver Jeff Allen with a Target Dog, a stuffed animal named Bullseye, as token of their appreciation after the trailer was unloaded.