For the Rotary Club of St. Charles Parish, Hurricane Ida recovery worked started immediately after the storm passed.
Greg Lier, who has been a part of the local Rotary Club for over 30 years and in the past has served as its president, said as soon as the storm cleared he started getting phone calls from people who wanted to help.
“I was involved in the recovery process because I had communication capabilities where a lot of people did not,” he said. “That’s how I kind of got involved initially in the process. I was being contacted by a lot of different people, but mostly Rotary clubs and districts throughout other parts of the United States. That’s where the vast major of the things we distributed came from. We had a small team of senior Rotarians in our district that were kind of involved in finding out who needed what.”
Cooking and tree removal crews were part of the resources offered from out-of-state Rotary clubs, Lier said, adding that the Rotary Club of St. Charles Parish was able to give away a truckload of generators, 100 refrigerators, 100 mattresses, 100 camp stoves and loads of cleaning supplies and water to people in need.
The club worked in conjunction with the United Way of St. Charles to distribute the donations.
“We got a lot of support,” Lier said. “There are 33,000 Rotary clubs throughout the world, and this is kind of what Rotary does – it’s there to help people in need. Normally we’re doing things like drilling water wells in Africa and eradicating polio, but in times like these we band together to help those in need.”
Lier said as the community’s needs shift throughout the recovery processes, so will the Rotary’s focus.
“It’ll be ongoing for a long time,” he said of recovery. “As time progresses what we’ll be doing is different, but it’s all designed to move the area forward. This is what in Rotary we try to do – help people in need. This all came together because of the storm. As soon as the storm was over, Rotarians -who we have no idea who they are – were contacting us to help. That’s a pretty amazing thing if you think about it.”
Currently the Rotary district is working to distribute an additional 50 refrigerators that were purchased with grant money, and Lier said the club is looking at other possible projects to fund with grant dollars. Other projects for the club currently in the works include providing uniforms to Luling Elementary students and working with a grant to repair the West Bank Bridge Park.