Saturday, September 29, 2007

Ottawa Flood Relief, a New beginning for our town and county

Jennifer Davis sent the following link. It is a web site devoted to Ottawa Flood Relief.

Ottawa Flood Relief, a New beginning for our town and county:
" To provide the quickest means to finding the relevant flood related info and
point people via telephone numbers, web addresses and volunteer contacts to get
the help to the people who need it, as well as show and explain succinctly to
the outside world the help that is desperately needed from the Ottawa
townspeople and surrounding severely flooded areas."

St. Bonaventure University: BonaResponds heading to Ohio

St. Bonaventure University: BonaResponds heading to Ohio:
"— BonaResponds, a volunteer-run disaster relief group out of St. Bonaventure University, will travel to Findlay, Ohio, during St. Bonaventure’s midterm break, Oct. 5 to 9, to help aid and rebuild communities devastated from severe flooding in August."

This was in the Olean Times Herald this morning as well.

Thursday, September 27, 2007


Here are the links for the forms that must be completed for the Ohio Trip:

all of this one (and it needs a parent's signature) and pages 2 and 3 of this one.

Monday, September 24, 2007

More pictures from Ohio

Tammy sent us some more pictures of the damage caused by the flooding:

Also the following info:
"At this time there are 8,143 FEMA registrations received in the 8
declared counties. Many homes were destroyed with foundations cracking
and some even collapsing. Where foundations were left in tack the mud
and sewer waters went as high as 4 feet into homes (not just basements).
This is only what I have seen from traveling and receiving reports from
FEMA. At this time we are hiring case managers who will be able to find
the families in the most urgent need of assistance. As of last week
FEMA has sent all referrals to me until the case managers are hired. I
currently have 24. One family has severe breathing problems (on oxygen)
and is trying to clean out her flooded basement. I have advised her to
STOP and not bring another molded item up to be cleaned. I am looking
for volunteers to help her A.S.A.P. Another family just purchased there
first home after 22 years of marriage. The home's foundation is now
collapsing from the extreme pressure of the flood water. Another family
has 5 children all of whom have been running back and forth to the
doctor with upper respiratory infections. " -- Ottawa schools weather flooding -- Ottawa schools weather flooding:
"About 170 Ss. Peter and Paul students in grades one through five are now attending school at Ottawa Elementary, while 124 sixth, seventh, and eighth graders have turned the gymnasium at Ottawa-Glandorf High School into their own self-contained junior high school. 'It's like staying at a relative's house,' Father Hemm said. 'We're all hoping we can move back home as soon as possible.' Insurance adjusters have suggested the flooded school may not be habitable for at least two months, but some have said it could be Jan. 1 before students and staff will be able to return."

Friday, September 21, 2007

A video from Findlay

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Courier Electronic Edition - Findlay, Ohio: NEWS

This was in yesterday's paper

Courier Electronic Edition - Findlay, Ohio: NEWS:
"The flood of August 2007 most likely will go down in the record books as the worst flood in Findlay's history. It will be up to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) to determine the extent of the flooding. The official report is due out in the spring, but looking at the raw data, Jim Sherwood, a hydrologist with the USGS, says the Aug. 21-22 flooding appears to have topped the flood of March 13, 1913 — the current record-holder."
Another article on the Ohio flooding reminds us that those who lived through it had a very stressful time:
"No one who sees disaster is untouched by it," said ODMH Director Sandra Stephenson. "Grief, sadness, shock and anger are normal reactions to an abnormal event like the recent flooding. It's important for individuals and families to take steps to promote their own physical and emotional healing. Talk about what you are feeling with family and friends."

Stress caused by loss or a traumatic experience can sneak up on people, often appearing weeks or months following the initial trauma. Stress is often displayed in subtle but distressing behavior and emotions. The elderly and children are particularly vulnerable to stress after a disaster and may require special considerations."

And finally an article from Disaster News about some of the work:
"Olashuk said cleanup teams were still needed in the Putnam County city of Ottawa, especially teams with specialized heavy equipment. Volunteers there have already worked on more than 140 homes doing everything from removing appliances from the basement to ripping out sub-flooring, carpet and drywall."

Copy of email about Ohio Trip

Executive Summary: BonaResponds is going to help flood victims near Findlay Ohio from October 5th to 9th and YOU ARE INVITED!!! Meeting Monday September 24th 8pm in Murphy Aud.
(you can come for any part of the trip!)
Long detailed version: It is official! BonaResponds will be going to Ohio over fall break to help the flooded areas in north central Ohio.
And you are invited!!!
Come and find out more at our Monday meeting 8pm in Murphy AUD.
* When and Where? October 5 to 9th--We will leave early evening on Friday October 5th. We will return on the 9th. We will be setting up a camp near Findlay Ohio helping those who were impacted by the August floods.
* Is there a meeting where I can learn more? YES! We will have a meeting at 8pm on Monday September 24 in Murphy Aud.
* What will the work be like? From reports from people on the scene it seems much like the work 6 months after Katrina in Biloxi: a mix of gutting houses to putting up drywall and painting. There are all levels of work. We need volunteers!!! You can help and you will have fun!
* Why should I give up my weekend? It is the right thing to do. It is fun. You will be VERY glad you did!
And most importantly so will those you help! Other less valuable reasons include you will make new friends, develop leadership skills, it looks great on a resume, and it will make a great chapter in your autobiography.
* How much does it cost? Cost of the trip until September 25th from SBU $50 per person (this is for food and transportation). Must be paid before 9/25 (If you meet us there, $25 per person one time fee for one day or the entire weekend.
* Any special requirements? You must have had a tetanus shot within the past five years. If you are not a SBU student, you must be 18 or older unless a parent or legal guardian comes with you. Oh and you have to bring a flexible attitude. Things will not go as planned, but they will work out.
* Where will we sleep/eat/etc? Good question! Still working on that, but it looks like we will either be in a church hall or similar camp. We will have bathroom, shower, and kitchen facilities. We also will have a place to lay out sleeping bags.
* What should I bring? Living conditions will be quite primitive (sleeping bags etc.) Here is our list which may be modified when we learn more of what is needed. As a reference, consider the conditions like Biloxi six months after Katrina. So here is the list we recommended then.
* Can I see what it is like? Sure, some pictures are online now on our blog: We have been in contact with Suzanne English (a SBU alumna and formerly in PR at SBU who now works at Findlay College) who will be getting us more pictures and possibly a video. (She also invited us to a BBQ at her house when we are out there!) SO keep checking the blog for updates!)

* I wish I could go, but _____ (insert legitimate reason for missing it here--examples I plan on having open heart surgery that weekend). Well if you really really cannot go, you can help us market the trip, you can agree to be a leader of some other task we have (for instance recruiting alumni, lining up t-shirts, setting up next local day, etc). Leaders are always needed!
You could donate. We have tools to buy and the cost of travel and food is being subsidized by BonaResponds. The actual cost per volunteer is much higher. So donations will be gladly accepted to help defray the cost being incurred by BonaResponds. We will need to buy several hundred dollars of tools. So if you can't go, you can still help. Make checks to St. Bonaventure with a memo to BonaResponds. Mail to BonaResponds, C/O Jim Mahar, Box BY, St. Bonaventure NY 14778.
* Can I bring others? ABSOLUTELY!!! YOU DO NOT NEED TO HAVE ANY CONNECTION TO SBU TO COME. Bring your family and friends and make a weekend out of it! IN fact, forward this to those you think might come!
REMEMBER Meeting 8pm on Monday September 24 in Murphy Aud.
* What if I can not make the meeting? You can send the money to BonaResponds, C/O Jim Mahar, School of Business, Box BY, St. Bonaventure NY 14778. Also all volunteers must fill out pages 2 and 3 of this form. All Bona students must fill out this form. (it requires a parent signature so please plan accordingly!)
for more info please see our blog and for future updates
Hope you can all make it!!
REMEMBER MEETING 8pm Monday! Murphy Aud.
PS We apologize for the length, but please remember that not everyone in BonaResponds is on campus. Thus email remains the easiest way to get the information to you all.
PPS You can also see for reports on our trips to Bradford and our local service day

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

More details on Ohio

October 5-9, 2007

As you know this came up pretty quickly, so details are still being worked out but here are a few more updates:

* The pictures are all from mid-September 2007. As you can see there is MUCH work to be done! These are from Ottawa and Findley Ohio. We will have more pictures in the coming days so keep checking blog.

* We will leave after classes on Friday October 5th. We will return on the 9th. You can come for any portion of this.

* Cost of the trip until September 25th

From SBU $50 (this is for food and transportation).

If you meet us there, $25. (note this is mainly for tools and supplies so it will be the same for all, even if you are only there for a part of the trip).

This money is non refundable.

After the September 25th, the price will be $70 from SBU and $40 respectively.

T-shirts will be for sale $12, Sweatshirts $30.

* You can come for any part of the trip.

* It is open to all! So tell your friends (and alumni!!) from Ohio to come out and help too!

* Non Bona Students must be 18 or older unless you are with a parent.

All volunteers must fill out pages 2 and 3 of this form.
All Bona students must fill out this form. (it requires a parent signature so please plan accordingly!)

(the forms will be available at the Monday 8pm meeting and also outside of Mur 231).

* All participants must have had a tetanus shot in the past 5 years.

* Sleeping accommodations will be quite primitive. You will need a sleeping bag, work clothes (Boots, work clothes, gloves, etc).

We suggest you bring some snack items (for instance granola bars, power bars, fruit, etc). Also cameras, toiletries, cell phone charger, flash light etc. As a reference, consider the conditions like Biloxi six months after Katrina. So here is the list we recommended then.

* This cost is being subsidized by BonaResponds. The actual cost per volunteer is much higher. So donations will be gladly accepted to help defray the cost being incurred by BonaResponds. We will need to buy several hundred dollars of tools. So if you can't go, you can still help. Make checks to St. Bonaventure with a memo to BonaResponds. Mail to BonaResponds, Box BY, St. Bonaventure NY 14778.

* Organize friends, church members, team members, or just a small group to come with us.

* Transportation is going to be difficult. We are getting at least one University Van, but if you can drive, that would be great. If you agree to take 3 or more other volunteers, we will even pay your gas!

* There will be a meeting at 8pm on Monday September 23 in Murphy Aud. We understand many of you may be coming from a far, so if you can not make the meeting but want to go, email us at

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

BonaResponds Ohio!!

Announcing BonaResponds-Ohio!

In late August Central Ohio experienced some of the worst flooding in its history. There is still much work to be done cleaning up.

I spoke with a volunteer coordinator this morning and she stressed that these was still much work to be done. Many homes have yet to be gutted and predictably there is a mold problem (see picture 1). Other homes have been gutted but are awaiting dry wall and flooring. In still others, they need painting and more finishing.

So there is work to be done. Unfortunately there are not many volunteers (quick when was the last time you heard about the flooding?). Much work and few volunteers is not a good scenario. You can help to correct this!

Come volunteer! BonaResponds will be setting up camp near Findlay Ohio from October 5 to 8th. All skills are needed. From cooking, to hauling, from driving, to drywalling, from gutting, to painting. Also computer skills, photography, you name it! We can use you :)

View Larger Map

More details to follow, but the cost should be less than $100 per person. This includes food while there and a place to stay.

The accommodations will not be five-star, but we will have bathrooms, shower facilities, etc.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Thanks from Bradford

Sally a disabled resident of Bradford PA thanks the volunteers for their help in cleaning up after the storm.

Thank you from Walsh

My mom, writing for Walsh, emailed the following:

"A belated but nonethe less very heartfelt THANK YOU to
everyone who worked at Walsh in the past year. You
have all made such a difference in our school, and it
is very much appreciated. This year the school
sparkles; it is brighter, cheerier, and shows the
tremendous effort all of you put into it. . .
Thank you all!

Way too often the bad choices some college kids make
get all the publicity, while the majority of good
things you do get overlooked. I hope you realize your
good work does not go unappreciated. You set high
goals and you achieve them. Congratulations!

Honestly, I could not wish for better role models for
the Walsh students than the people in BonaResponds,
and I sincerely hope our kids (and parents, faculty,
staff, alumni, friends) will work with you in other
service projects. Keep us informed.

So, to all those people---including my family---who
helped us at Walsh, a sincere thank you. Pax et

Marge Mahar :-)

Sunday, September 16, 2007

More from Bradford

A small group of us went over to Bradford today to help a disabled woman clean up after last month's storm. While it was far from our largest job, the work was still very much appreciated by Sally the home owner.

Here are many more pictures from Bradford
and here are some really good ones from Jen.

Thank you from the Allegany Fire Dept

Tony dropped this off today:

On behalf of the officers and members of the Allegany Engine Company, we would like to thank the girls who came and painted inside the fire hall. Everyone is happy with it and you guys did a great job!

To the girls: Ryan H, Brigid H, Kaitlin D, Jessica S, Kate C, Caitlin C, Katie M, Tanya R, Cara P, Claire B, and Lynne M., thank you guys so much for your time and efforts, and don't be strangers.


Tony Papasergi 1st Amb. Lt. , Francis Pezzimenti Fire Chief, Tom Henderson VP."

Saturday, September 15, 2007

A thank you for the wheelchair ramp

I received the following email today from the niece of the woman that BonaResponds built a wheelchair ramp.

"Hello Jim. I don't think that I ever got the chance to personally thank you for the wonderful job the volunteers from Bona Responds did for my aunt. The ramp is sturdy, attractive, and up to code. She has used it several times and maneuvers quite well with her walker. She didn't believe that she needed it, and now, she says she doesn't know what she would do without it.
Bonnie and Larry were terrific. The young women were energetic and pleasant. The other man, whose name I forgot to get, worked constantly. Larry even came back Sunday, in the rain, and finished on his own. He tried to pay for additional lumber that we didn't get Saturday, but my aunt wouldn't let him.
It was a wonderful experience for both of us, and again, I can't thank you enough. Good luck in the future with Bona Responds.


Friday, September 14, 2007

Sunday short day in Bradford

We have been asked by a disabled Bradford resident if we could cut up two trees that were knocked down in the storm last month.

We decided it was a job we can do. So despite the poor response (really need some more leaders to "Step up") from the email/Notice Board announcement, we will be going.

Leave from Murphy at 10:30 on SUNDAY. We hope to return by 1:00.

Please come dressed to work. (jeans, boots, gloves if possible).


NY-Alert--NY State has started a new alert system that will email or text message (SMS or IM) you in the event of a whole series of disasters, alerts, and warnings.

I definitely recommend all sign up for it and it will be required for the BonaResponds Quick Response team.

It is free.

A video report from Peru by HODR

Bill Driscoll gives us an update with plenty of HODR faces you may remember:

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Announcements for Notice Board


BonaResponds' Announcements

* BonaResponds is happy to announce the formation of a quick response team. We will receive training from Red Cross, FEMA, and local authorities. This is a great opportunity to help those in the most need immediately following a disaster. For more information see:

* There is still a need for responsible and dependable people (students, staff, faculty, or community members) to act as leaders.
There will be a leader meeting at 12:30 Monday.

* We received a call from a disabled Bradford resident who has two trees that need to be cut up and hauled off. If you can spare a couple of hours on Sunday (hopefully before the Bills game!), please email

* Thank you to all who participated in the Local Service Day!

BonaResponds Quick Response Team

As you know, FEMA is making rules changes to ensure the safety of volunteers that will prevent untrained volunteers from helping immediately after a disaster. In part as a result, BonaResponds has formed a Quick Response team that will receive special training and will be able to go to sites sooner than other volunteers. This is a big commitment and with it comes added responsibility, but it is the right thing to do. It will allow us to truly help those in the most need.

Note, we are not going to be first responders, but quick responders. There to assist first responders and to help set up volunteer coordination in the days and weeks that follow.

Mike Connery is the student leader of this new arm of BonaResponds. He sent the following for inclusion:

  • Introduction online course: (should take less than an hour)
  • Introduction Local disaster Response course (almost all have completed this)
  • Adult CPR at the Red Cross (available times: 10/10, 11/13, 12/3 all courses are from 6-10:30pm)
  • First Aid at the Red Cross (available times: 9/17, 10/17, 11/27, 12/12 all courses are from 6-9pm)

Combined CPR and First Aid will be held on 10/13 and 11/3 from 9am-4pm

If you can make any of these sessions, please let me know ASAP so I can sign you up. There are limited spaces in each class.

  • FEMA 317 online course : (certification by FEMA upon completion MUST BE PRINTED AND SAVED)
  • Chain Saw Training (Time is TBA)
  • Fire Department, Police Department, Disaster Coordinator training session (Time: On a Saturday TBA, idea was to possible do it the Saturday at the start of fall break and then do an abbreviated service trip to either NYC or Ohio afterwards.)
There will also likely be a wrap up training put on by BonaRespond "Staff" that will lay out specifically how we can be better prepared in the event of a disaster.

Upon completion of the training, we will receive special ID badges and clothing that will used to allow access to disaster areas.

If you would like to participate, please email BonaResponds or Mike.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

BonaResponds helping those at home and afar - Web Exclusives

BonaResponds helping those at home and afar - Web Exclusives: "
BonaResponds has set up several local service days to facilitate those in need of a helping hand in the Olean area. The group held its latest local service day this past Saturday, working with the city of Olean to pain street signs as well as with the Allegany Parks Department to aid the construction of a possible new mountain bike park. The group also had plans to help install a wheelchair ramp onto the home of a 92-year-old woman. Last year, BonaResponds quickly hit the scene in the Buffalo area following the 'October Surprise' snow storm,...."


Originally uploaded by Hands On Disaster Response.
Handson Disaster Responds ( is our role model. We worked with them in Biloxi and they donated chainsaws to us in Buffalo.

They are now in Peru helping. It would be great if we could help them in some way. What do you think? Fund Raiser?

Ideas anyone?

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Village People? YMCA

BR-LSD 143
Originally uploaded by Nif.
They really were painting at the YMCA!

Painting the Even Start Room at the YMCA in Olean.

Painting the garage at Claire House

The Claire House is a Bonaventure Property located at the Archbishop Walsh High School. In what is often an "out of site out of mind" holding that needed some painting and fix-up. Last fall we had started working at Walsh so this was a logical continuation.

This picture if part of Jen's collection from Saturday's Local Service Day.

Thanks from the SPCA

Received the following email from the SPCA this morning:

"Jim-a heartfelt thank you to you and the crew that painted the kennels at the SPCA this weekend. Even though the rain kept us from doing all the kennels (because we couldnt leave the dogs out in the rain), they managed to get a lot of them painted. They also did some weedwacking, helped in the lobby, and walked dogs. They are a great bunch of students and we appreciate their help.

We took a group picture and plan on putting on our web site.

Best regards,

SPCA in Catt Co."

Getting a ride in the firetruck

Originally uploaded by FinanceProfessor.
BonaResponds had a great local service day on Saturday Sept 8. Here some of the volunteers get a free ride to their next site.

More details to follow soon!

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Wear Brown!

Hi everyone.

Just a few quick reminders for Saturday's Local Service day:
  • We will meet in Murphy at 8:30. After a quick meeting we will break into groups and get to work. Work will continue to about 4:00
  • A very basic lunch (peanut butter and Jelly) will be available to take with you. However, you may bring your own as well.
  • Dress for the conditions. I would recommend boots and work clothes. Many of you will be painting, working on trails (MUD!), hauling trees, etc. So you will get dirty. And if it rains, some will get wet.
  • Please try to wear brown. Your BonaResponds shirts are perfect but if you do not have a BonaResponds shirt, any brown t-shirt will make us stand out more.
  • Please try to bring a digital camera. We want many pictures!! Let's try for a 1000 pictures! Show the world how fun doing good can be!
  • At several sites music might be wanted. So if you are a site leader and want to bring music, please do!
  • The most important things you can bring are a willingness to help, an open mind, and a willingness to have fun!

Tell others! The more the merrier.

Some comments on the new Quick Response team

As you no doubt saw recently, there are new rules that are being imposed on volunteers who want to help after a disaster. Here is my small contribution to the on going discussion on the Handson Alumni site.

handsonusaalumni : Message: Re: [handsonusaalumni] Re: Feds to restrict volunteers at disasters:
"Better coordination, not zero coordination, is what is needed....we are trying to prepare for the problems that the rules may bring to volunteer organizations...and it should be noted that this plan was in the works BEFORE the article was published. Both in Buffalo NY and Enterprise Al we had already begun to run into the problems of no volunteers allowed without being "official"...we worked around it in each case, but I have to confess it was at least partially good luck (especially in Enterprise where the street by the high school was still off limits but we did get in).

We have formed a new BonaResponds Quick Response team...we are getting the basic Red Cross training, then FEMA CERT (317), then a day with local fire dept, police dept, and finally our county disaster response coordinator. By no means will we be first responders, but quick and able to is an added burden and many/most volunteers will not be able/willing to do it but short of saying we are not going to help, I think this may be the best course of action. " [emphasis added]
As I told Laura tonight, this is not perfect and we may hit snags along the way, but I truly believe it is the best way we can help people after a disaster.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Fast update on things

Super fast as I am way behind on about 10

* GREAT turnout at yesterdays BonaResponds General meeting

* The BonaResonds Quick response team was announced and training begins today at 6pm at the Red Cross in Olean

* The Local Service Day this Saturday is going to really be a signature way to start off the year. We are looking for over 100 volunteers working at about 20 different sites in the area.

Be sure to come! We meet in Murphy at 8:30 AM.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Feds to restrict volunteers at disasters - Yahoo! News

Deep breath everyone...I know they mean well, but wow is FEMA incompetent.

Feds to restrict volunteers at disasters - Yahoo! News:
"In an effort to provide better control and coordination, the federal government is launching an ambitious ID program for rescue workers to keep everyday people from swarming to a disaster scene. A prototype of the new first responder identification card is already being issued to fire and police personnel in the Washington, D.C., area.

Shearer...said the experience [as volunteer supply manager at the WTC] convinced her that agencies are ill-equipped to handle major disasters — but don't want outsiders pointing out their failings. Similar frustrations arose after Katrina, when people were shocked that the government struggled to take basic supplies such as water to the worst areas. 'They're more worried about keeping volunteers out than doing an analysis of what really went wrong,' Shearer said. 'Independent citizens need to be involved, where we have no ax to grind or cross to bear. But we will tell the truth, and we will tell what we see and bear witness to the incompetence.' Dickinson, the federal fire official, said the government is not trying to discourage volunteers, but he thinks there should come a time, within a few days of a disaster, when civilians step back and let the professionals take control."
Why do I feel like I am reading Orwell's 1984? FEMA and others saying the volunteers are the problem.