Seaman donates fabric to hurricane relief efforts

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Seaman Corp. has donated 13 truckloads of fabric worth more than $250,000 to disaster relief efforts in the wake of hurricanes Katrina and Rita in the Gulf Coast area.

The donation was made through Friend Ships Unlimited, a global disaster relief organization that deploys large-scale humanitarian aid throughout the world, deploying vessels from its Lake Charles, La., home base — an area also hit hard by the recent hurricanes.

With plants in Wooster, Ohio, and Bristol, Tenn., Seaman manufactures high-performance fabric used for roofing, landfill liners, hazardous waste containment, truck tarps, recreational products, architectural applications and other uses.

The company began donating fabric to Friend Ships in 1996, and increased regular shipments starting in 1998 in response to the need for temporary shelters after Hurricane Mitch struck Honduras. Over the years, regular donations of Seaman fabric have been used to provide temporary shelters, protect damaged buildings from weather, fabricate clothing and medical kits and protect containers of other emergency supplies during shipment.

“The fabric we send to Friend Ships is very good, usually coated on one or two sides, so it’s extremely durable and weather-resistant,” said Dave Slater, senior buyer for Seaman, who coordinates the effort.

Officials at Friend Ships said that, after years of sending Seaman fabric to disaster sites all over the world, the current shipment will be used closer to home. “We are using the fabric to help folks in our own neighborhood as well as other affected areas, such as New Orleans,” said Kristin Boecher, supervisor of resources and development, currently working in the damaged, generator-powered Friend Ships home base. “In fact, we just left some people in nearby Vinton who were elated when we delivered some of Seaman Corporation’s material.”

Richard N. Seaman, president and chief executive officer of Seaman Corp., said the company’s associates in Ohio and Tennessee are proud of their longtime efforts to support Friend Ships, including the current shipment — the largest ever.

“All of us are grateful for the opportunity to help other Americans at this time of crisis,” he said. “This donation is made on the behalf of each and every Seaman associate, recognizing the responsibilities of industry leadership in times of tremendous need.”