The true scope of the tragedy that is Hurricane Katrina is still not fully apparent,even three days after the storm hit the Gulf Coast. What we do know, however, is devastating. The city of New Orleans has suffered flooding of unimaginable proportions. Many other communities in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama have been leveled, with most or all of the homes and businesses destroyed. The cost in human lives has not yet been tallied, but it appears that the dead and injured will number in the thousands. In all of this, the survivors are left to try to rebuild after having lost their loved ones, homes and possessions.
I am proud to say that our company and our teammates have a long tradition of serving the community, stepping up in a time of crisis to do what we can to help survivors and investing in re-building efforts. Consistent with this tradition, many of you have asked what can be done to help those who have been impacted by this disaster.
Here at Bridgestone Americas we want to do our part. In that spirit, Bridgestone Americas has today donated $100,000 to the American Red Cross, ear-marking that contribution to relief efforts in the three states hardest hit by Hurricane Katrina. Regarding individual teammate contributions, each BSA facility is empowered to establish a team member fund-raising program intended to support these relief efforts.
We are looking to our Grassroots Liaisons to spearhead this effort. While we here at ASC do not intend to specify the relief organizations to which teammate contributions can be made, we recommend that you visit www.fema.gov for suggestions. Under the “More Information” section, click on the “How to get help or help disaster victims” section, then click on “Donations.” There you will find a list of screened organizations that have a proven track record in disaster relief activities.
In addition to the millions of people impacted by Katrina, there are hundreds of individuals who are very special to the BSA family. BFRC, our retail company, has many stores in the affected areas. So far, we have heard from many of our store teammates, but not all. And those who we have heard from are truly suffering. All have apparently had some loss; many have lost all they own. BFRC has issued a special request for contributions to its assistance fund, which is 100% teammate-funded and intended to assist with the day-to-day needs of team members who are encountering emergency situations. BSAH, BFNT and BFDP are also planning to launch a Teammate Assistance Fund early next year. In the meantime, if you or your teammates at your location would like to make a tax-deductible contribution to BFRC’s fund in support of our store team members, please make your checks payable to:
Associate Assistance Fund
Hurricane Relief Program
P.O. Box 6397
Bloomingdale, IL 60108
We are currently investigating the possibility of establishing a payroll deduction program to support contributions to BFRC’s assistance fund, which can then be converted to a program to support the BSAH, BFNT and BFDP teammate assistance plans scheduled for launch in early 2006. I hope to have more information to share with you about this opportunity in the near future.
We realize many of you may have already made a donation, and we applaud your generosity and willingness to help. Giving is a very personal decision and it’s entirely up to you. Thanks in advance for your help and for everything you do for Bridgestone Americas.
Mark A. Emkes
Chairman and CEO
Bridgestone Americas Holding, Inc.