Forklifts pitch in for tornado support

News Story
- 30 May 2013 ( #618 ) - Moore, OK, United States
3 min read
A rescue worker and his search dog sit outside the remains of the Plaza Towers Elementary School in Moore, OK.<br />U.S. Army photo by Oklahoma National Guard Maj. Geoff Legle
A rescue worker and his search dog sit outside the remains of the Plaza Towers Elementary School in Moore, OK.
U.S. Army photo by Oklahoma National Guard Maj. Geoff Legle
Forklift dealerships and operators are responding to needs stemming from the major tornado that passed southwest of Moore on the afternoon of 20 May.

Rated at EF5 on the enhanced Fujita scale, the tornado killed 24, injured 377, destroyed or damaged more than 12,000 homes and impacted at least 33,000 people. Four employees of dealerships lost homes.

Help, in some cases, comes from a distance.

Non-profit relief agencies in mid-Atlantic states put forklifts to good use in loading medical supplies, baby items, food, cleaning aides and blankets onto trailer-tractor trucks for trips to the recovery zone.

In organising an effective response, international charity Brother's Brother Foundation of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania is working with Concord, Virginia-based urgent-support provider Gleaning For The World Inc, which has an Appomattox, Virginia warehouse. Forklifts move pallets of relief items into position and then onto trucks as they become available for the long road haul.

Sooner Lift Inc of Oklahoma City has provided several forklifts for non-profit organisations such as churches and community groups and was taking care of its own.

The tornado destroyed the house of one employee who works in the Sooner Lift shop. The dealership is accepting donations on his behalf.

Sooner Lift President Jeff McIver strongly supports the mission of the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma, which has opened a temporary service location in Moore. In Oklahoma City, Sooner Lift and the Food Bank occupy neighbouring facilities.

Sooner Lift represents the Clark, Crown, Doosan, Bendi and Drexel brands.

The Oklahoma City branch of Hugg & Hall Equipment Co reports three employees lost their homes to the tornado.

As a result, Mike McMahan, customer satisfaction director, finds himself helping on multiple functions including rentals. "Normally, I am in sales," McMahan says. "We have been staying real busy" providing equipment to relief sites handling food or churches trying to fulfill the massive needs.

Hugg & Hall, based in Little Rock, Arkansas, purchased the Oklahoma City branch in early January and changed its name from Westquip Inc. Fred W Stanley was the previous owner. The branch represents the Toyota, Hoist, Sellick, Combilift and Mariotti brands.

As a result of the acquisition, Hugg & Hall provides material and personnel handling products and services for the needs of industrial and construction markets with 14 locations in five states.

Matt Trobis in the parts department at Forklift OK in Oklahoma City volunteered on his own time to help clean debris and help "sort things out" in Moore. The growing number of volunteers was prompting the management team to turn away surplus individuals willing to help. Trobis says some tornado debris caused damage at his home in Guthrie, Oklahoma.

Forklift OK is a branch of H&E Equipment Services Inc. As of 31 December, the rental fleet of publicly traded Baton Rouge, Louisiana-based H&E consisted of 21,090 pieces of equipment.

Mike Roman's M & M Animal Disposal of Tecumseh, Oklahoma used a forklift and mini-tractor in moving the carcasses of tornado-stricken horses, donkeys and a pig for trucks to carry the remains to a dump.

LPM Forklift Sales & Service Inc of Bethany, Oklahoma was providing equipment as needed for relief efforts. The dealership represents the UniCarriers, Linde-Baker, Liftking, Big Joe and Skyjack brands.

The targeted community was hit previously with the 2010 Moore-Choctaw tornado, the 2003 Moore tornado and the equally severe EF5 Bridge Creek-Moore tornado in 1999.
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