Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Two Year Anniversary Rememberance

In honor of the two year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, BonaResponds asks that you to take a few minutes to remember the victims of Katrina. To help in this regard we will have a special display at our September 8, local service day which will include videos, pictures, and reflection pieces. This is free and open to all (even if you cannot volunteer that day).

If you did volunteer in any trip to the Gulf (be it BonaResponds or not) we ask that you submit your own reflection piece (be it art work, writing, a video, or anything else you feel captures your feelings) that we can display.

Additionally BonaResponds has removed the traditional brown and white colors from our website and replaced them temporarily by a more somber black and white.

K+2: Katrina two years later

Some recent stories on the recovery.

Possibly the best is from NPR which has many stories on the two year anniversary. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

CNN also has a very good site with many videos.

News: Katrina: Two years later | look, orleans, services, day, new -
"Two-thirds of New Orleans' once 455,000 residents have returned, but services like transportation and hospitals remain a problem. 'We try not to look at the giant picture""Two years after Hurricane Katrina pummeled New Orleans, the city's recovery has been painfully slow. It is on its fourth rebuilding plan. It's not unusual to see one fixed-up house amid a block of wreckage."
The Houston Chronicle: the Stress remains:
"But no one comforts Riley, a Hurricane Katrina survivor, who feels she is depressed because she can't seem to sleep anymore.

On Hurricane Katrina's second anniversary, she'll probably pray in a circle with her Houston neighbors, formerly of New Orleans like herself.

"On Sundays, when you come to my house, I got my hymns on and they get me through," said Riley, who lives with her two grandchildren and three sons at the Park at Lakeside apartment complex. "And sometimes I sit and think, and then I start to cry because I have no family members here."" "The situation in New Orleans is really one of relativity. There is no quick fix for such massive devastation, and no model for a recovery of this magnitude. As a result, some of the hardest hit areas of our city are still uninhabited"

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Two years later.

David Campbell of Hands On Disaster Response sent the following video and petition. Do what you can with it. Forward it if you are willing, sign it if you are so inclined, but please watch it.

Two years. It has been two years. So much work remains.

It is sad.
It is tragic.
It is almost unimaginable.
It is reality.

You really have to watch some of the video or any of the others that are available at Voices from the Gulf:
"Two years after Katrina, the Gulf Coast is still recovering, and thousands of personal stories remain unheard. Experience them here."
You will see why BonaResponds will go back and why you should come with us.

BonaResponds in the Bradford Era

The Bradford Era on clean up activities in Bradford
"Meanwhile....BonaResponds from St. Bonaventure University was in Bradford helping clean up Sunday after the storm. Mahar said he heard about the storm at 10 p.m. Saturday on the radio, talked with a few people and decided to go help by about 10:30 p.m. He said they worked most of the day, working near Arby's for a while and on East Main Street and Euclid Avenue".
There is more here.

Greensburg Kansas update

In May we (BonaResponds) almost went to Greensburg. Today ABC gave us an update on the recovery efforts. Short version: they are coming back and doing so in a "green" fashion.

ABC News: Devastated Kansas Town Goes Green:
"Mother Nature dealt this community a devastating blow, but Greensburg is starting to bounce back. Since just a few days after the tornado, the small farming town has made ambitious plans for rebuilding green, from a wind farm at the electric plant to green homes and businesses."

Sunday, August 26, 2007


Originally uploaded by FinanceProfessor.
Today BonaResponds sent a small team to Bradford after the storm. Here Larry is a perfect role model cutting a downed tree on Euclid St. as several neighbor children watch and learn.

More pictures of our day are here.

News Reports from Bradford

The Bradford Era has several articles online about the storm.

The damage was bad, but not disastrous:
"The severe storm Saturday that scattered trees like matchsticks, snapped power lines and left a minefield of debris dealt the Tuna Valley a blow — but not a knockout.

According to McKean County Emergency Management Agency Director Steve Nelson, the storm — packing upwards of 70 mph winds and biting rain — hit the hardest in the areas of Pleasant and Summer streets, Jerome Avenue and Bolivar Drive, toppling more than 100 trees and damaging close to 60 homes"
Another recap of the storm:

"...official numbers of 3.36 inches of rain within 15 minutes in downtown Bradford. The department received 121 calls of either toppled trees, downed wires, structural damage or road closures. No injuries were reported.

“All the signs were blown over; everything was just a mess,” he said.

“The Sixth Ward (area) got it the most, but also by the hospital, Pleasant Street and Summer Street,” Tehle said.

The station has received reports that some areas may not have power until at least Tuesday.

Derrick City is likely one of these spots."

The storm probably did not spawn any tornadoes but the storm was still pretty bad in sections:
"Despite early reports indicating a tornado might have struck the area — causing more than 100 trees to be felled onto homes, power lines ripped down and a widespread trail of debris — the damage was more likely caused by a microburst, or updrafts, which are common during a severe thunderstorm."

My take: in sections is was bad, but not Enterprise or Buffalo bad. Most sections of town were fine by late Sunday afternoon, but some were still bad. We will examine it again late in the week to decide if we go back next weekend.

BonaResponds to Bradford

While small in terms of what they are having in the Midwest, a major thunder storm front rolled through the local area today. Olean was not hurt, but many to the South and into Pennsylvania were left without power due to downed wires and trees.

The radio said it was pretty bad, so we are going. We leave at 10:30AM (about 12 hours after we decided to go) from the Murphy Parking lot on the west side of campus.

No one knows what to expect and we may not be needed (I would feel much more comfortable if we had scouted it, but given that we heard of it at 9:15, deliberated for about an hour, and announced we were going).

Why the decision? Because it is better to go and not be needed than to not go and to be needed.

Roll-out 10:30 AM.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

DNN :: Thousands hit by Midwest flooding

DNN :: Thousands hit by Midwest flooding:
"Volunteers are being sought to assist in cleanup efforts in northern Ohio after severe flooding inundated the region, the Ohio Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD) has announced."
What do you think? Email me if you think it is doable...5.5 hours...the week before the local service day. Let me know!!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Sean Ryan Conversation

An interview with Sean Ryan a BonaRespond member who spent the summer of 2007 volunteering in Bay St. Louis.

He talks about what the area is like 2 years after Katrina, his time with BonaResponds, and how you can help!

BonaResponds in SBU Alumni News

BonaResponds got some great coverage in the recent SBU Alumni News--

Sean Lynch's article, our summer local service day, and our tool drive all are in the news! :)

We were just listed on

We were just listed on

Volunteer Opportunity: Community Service Day - BonaResponds:
"Description Volunteers needed for many jobs. From painting, to building wheelchair ramps, to park clean up, trail creation, working at local schools, and more. One day, hundreds of volunteers, and we all get a better community!"

Thursday, August 23, 2007

This letter went out to all volunteers

This went out to our past volunteers, but with over 100 email changes and bounces, I will also put it here:

In conjunction with our September 8th Local Service Day BonaResponds is having its first ever Tool Drive!
Students, before you head back to school, why not ask around for any tools that are not being used.
Not a student anymore, well if you have been looking for an excuse to clean out your garage, here it is!
BonaResponds will put your tools (new or used) to great use!
While almost all tools are needed, we are especially looking for
  1. rakes, shovels (especially non snow shovels), hoes, brooms
  2. drills (especially battery powered as many places we work have no power), saws, tarps, hammers,
  3. paint rollers, brushes, extenders
  4. Step ladders
  5. Gloves
  6. clippers/loppers/pole saws
  7. Screw drivers, wire cutters, drills
  8. Pry bars, tarps, flash lights, rope

As you can see, we will pretty much use (either at our local days or at the next disaster response) whatever you can spare. With James having graduated, our main source of tools is no longer here so we basically just have some bow saws and a few chain saws donated by HODR (

E-mail to arrange a pick-up or better, you can bring the tools with you to our local service day on September 8th. We will be working on various places in the community: private homes, parks, as well as at many local organizations (such as the SPCA, Genesis House, the Warming House) schools (including SBU) and a few trail projects.

It will be a great day and we have work for all! So if you can do plumbing, enter data into a spreadsheet, paint, cook, drive, or just about anything else, we have work for you! More details will be coming, but we really hope you can make it. If you are coming from out of town and need a place to stay, let us know!

You can now sign up in advance online at


Jim and the entire BonaResponds team

Remember Saturday September 8th!!

P.S. If you know of someone (either an individual or an organization) who could use our help, let us know!

Radio Interview

Patrick Brutus (right) and I were interviewed today by Nick Purcio. The 15 minute interview will air on WPIG (95.7) at 6:45 AM this Sunday. It will be replayed at 10:05 on WHDL (1450 AM) . We will try to get a copy to post online as well.

Hands On Disaster Response

Given that classes are starting here at Bonaventure, it is unlikely we can go to help in Peru, one thing we can do however is to help raise funds for those that are going. This is from Hands on Disaster Response, the group we are closely aligned with (worked with them in Biloxi), they donated to us to allow us to work in Buffalo etc.

Hands On Disaster Response:
"With possible deployment to help aide Peru Earthquake victims, HODR will need the support of our donors to run this successful relief project. Based on our previous relief efforts, we have compiled an example of the projects that may be needed to rebuild these communities and the projected costs.
Possible Peru Projects:
• $25 – Sponsor food and shelter for a Volunteer for a week
• $50 – Tarping homes
• $100 - Sponsor food and shelter for a Volunteer for a month
• $500 – Tools and supplies
• $1,000 – Fishing fleet replacement
• $5,000 – Re-roof a school

All funds donated to HODR go directly towards these efforts. Please give generously to support our volunteers and the people they assist. Anyone interested in making a tax deductible donation can do so securely here on [the HODR] site."

They swoop in to help after disasters - The Boston Globe

Nice article on HODR (Hands on Disaster Response)

They swoop in to help after disasters - The Boston Globe:
"When natural disasters strike, the group invites volunteers to travel to the affected areas and provides free room and board in exchange for their help. The volunteers, from varying backgrounds and occupations who deploy at a moment's notice, do not just swoop in and clean up yards. They embed themselves in the community, often for months at a time, to help residents return to normal life. 'People want to help,' said Driscoll, a director of operations with the group. 'They see a situation, they just kind of travel and they go there. We're able to take those people and apply their resources, their physical power, and their mental power on our projects.'"

My favorite part:
"Campbell and Driscoll said they welcome volunteers as long as they have positive attitudes.

"Whether it's an 85-year-old woman who can't put up walls or clear debris, but can cook meals for all the volunteers . . . we can put anyone to work that wants to help," Driscoll said"

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Corporation for National and Community Service

Corporation for National and Community Service:
"On the second anniversary of Hurricane Katrina’s making landfall, the Corporation has released several new fact sheets and other materials that document the contributions that national service participants and other volunteers have made to the recovery effort:"
They estimate 1,000,000 more volunteers will be needed to finish the recovery. That is why we must go bank!

YouTube - Peru Earthquake: Hands On Disaster Response Update 1

Given our schedule it is PROBABLY impossible, but maybe we can help in someway. Find raising?

YouTube - Peru Earthquake: Hands On Disaster Response Update 1

UniversalJournal/AYJW - Articles, Papers, Essays - Association of Young Journalists and Writers

Nice article my Emily!!!

UniversalJournal/AYJW - Articles, Papers, Essays - Association of Young Journalists and Writers:
"I only hope that the rest of the nation will realize that the disaster is not over yet, and so many people relive it every day when they step outside their trailer door and look out to nothing where their futures once stood, and for now lay barren."

Monday, August 20, 2007

Short updates on things

It has been a while since I have updated people on what is going on with BonaResponds, so here goes:

* Local Service Day is September 8th. We have many great jobs already lined up with more to come! Some of the jobs include: building a wheelchair ramp for elderly woman, installing a new toilet and bathroom facilities for a gentleman, removing a broken porch, working at SPCA, painting at local parks, building trails, putting up signs for Bob's Woods, working with local schools, and more.

* We are starting a "Quick Response" team to go into disaster areas. This would require some additional training but is a great opportunity and highly recommended. Details will follow.

* We are looking into a fall break trip to NYC. Of course this may change depending on the hurricane season etc, but working in Harlem is a likely prospect.

* Christmas break and Spring break trips to the Gulf are also being planned.

* our relationships wth other organizations (Hands on Disaster Response (, Randy' Rangers, and Americorps) continue to be core tenants of BonaResponds. We will continue to stregthen these ties and look for ways we can leverage what is already being done reather than reinventing the wheel.

It is going to be a very exciting year! You won't want to miss a single event. So get involved!

General meeting September 4 at 7:30 in Murphy Hall (Dresser Aud-C)

Saturday, August 18, 2007

New Disaster Ideas To Help Volunteers

New Disaster Ideas To Help Volunteers--
A news video on coordinating various volunteer organizations in Louisiana so there is less wasted efforts.

Friday, August 17, 2007

The Enterprise Ledger | City begins giving away mulch from tornado

The Enterprise Ledger | City begins giving away mulch from tornado:
"city officials will start giving away more than 40,000 cubic yards of wood mulch that has been accumulated since the March 1 tornado...."
Was anyone wondering where all those trees we hauled went to? Now you know!

Saturday, August 04, 2007

handsonusaalumni : Message: Fwd: Join Oxfam's Gulf Coast Photo Petition

handsonusaalumni : Message: Fwd: Join Oxfam's Gulf Coast Photo Petition:
"Thank you for signing our petition calling on the presidential candidates to keep America's promise to the Gulf Coast. Since we started our petition, over 25,000 people like you have taken action, and the numbers just keep growing. Together, we're making it clear that America demands a leader who is committed to rebuilding.

In order to continue ramping up the pressure, please take another step to show support. We're launching a photo petition, to be sent to the candidates-so they can see for themselves that all kinds of Americans care deeply about this issue. It's a fast, fun, and easy way to show your support!"

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Sean Lynch article

Sean Lynch is one of the original founders of BonaResponds. He went to Biloxi in October 2005 and has been active ever since. He is on the BonaResponds board of advisors and gets my one of my first calls after every event.

Sean has graduated and now works for Moodys in NYC. He was recently profiled in their corporate magazine and today we got permission to post the article.

A quick look-in:
"...Biloxi, Mississippi, to help....“They really had nothing,” reports Lynch, who remembers families struggling to cope amid the ruins. “We were really moved by it. It felt like being in a war zone. Everything was destroyed."
Here is the rest of the article.