Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Music video to raise awareness about Alabama...

2009 SBU grad Eric Smith (he went with us to New Orleans in 2006 on the "big trip") helped put this fund raiser his words:

"we got a group of musicians together a couple of Sundays ago and did our best to give back the only way we could all the way up here without being able to travel down south, and that was by creating this video to raise awareness, a la "We Are the World." "

Sweet Home Alabama: A Performance to Aid Disaster Relief from CitizenMusic on Vimeo.

"a super-group of musicians from half a dozen New York bands released a music video tribute to raise funds for disaster relief efforts in Alabama. The ten devoted yankees got together at Brooklyn music venue and art space Cameo to record a collaborative, semi-improvisational cover of Lynyrd Skynyrd's classic 'Sweet Home Alabama' and began circulating the video online to raise awareness and get listeners to care, give and help."

Saturday, May 14, 2011

New president takes power in struggling Haiti - World news - Haiti -

A big day in Haiti.

New president takes power in struggling Haiti - World news - Haiti -
"Charismatic pop star-turned-president Michel Martelly takes over Haiti on Saturday promising to rebuild its earthquake-devastated capital, develop the long-neglected countryside and build a modern army.

The 50-year-old performer known to Haitians as 'Sweet Micky' was swept to power in March 20 presidential runoff by Haitians tired of past leaders who failed to provide even basic services, such as decent roads, water and electricity in the Western Hemisphere's poorest country"

Remember we are still collecting school supplies (notebooks, pens, pencils, crayons, calculators), small toys, soccer balls, sheet music, used lap top computers, and musical instruments for schools in Haiti. Also in conjunction with HaitiScholarships we want to get more Haitians in schools! For less a dollar a day a student can be enrolled in school. Get involved! No matter where you are, no matter who you are, you can make a difference.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Parents of graduating St. Bonaventure senior donate new sign marking woods and trails named in memory of beloved priest

Parents of graduating St. Bonaventure senior donate new sign marking woods and trails named in memory of beloved priest: "The sign was dedicated in a small ceremony Tuesday attended by Tylenda, Ogilvie and their son, as well as Br. F. Edward Coughlin, O.F.M., St. Bonaventure’s vice president for Franciscan Mission, and Dr. James Mahar Jr., associate professor of finance and founder/coordinator of BonaResponds, the university’s disaster-relief organization. BonaResponds maintains the trails through Bob’s Woods.

Here are well over 100 pictures of the making the trails.  (throughout the summer we are often looking for people to help mow the trails, so if you are local and would like to help, just let us know! :))

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Chain Saw Injury Statistics

Chain Saw Injury Statistics:
"According to the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission there were over 28,500 chain saw injuries in 1999. More than 36% were injuries to the legs and knees.

The average chainsaw injury requires 110 stitches and the average medical cost...can be estimated to be over $12,000.00."
Why we require chaps for using a chain saw. Also steel toed boots are HIGHLY recommended.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Sign up for Alabama

Still getting requests saying they can not find where to sign up...

the vans for the first week are getting full...

that said we'd love to have people meet us there! No affiliation to SBU needed...only a willingness to work and a good attitude :)

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Alabama Details

Have had many people ask for details  Here you go:
  1. We will be working in Alabama for at least 2 weeks, but people can come and help for as short of time as they want. We will get there on the 17th. We will be leaving Memorial Day (but this MAY be extended).
  2. We are staying at the Wesley Center adjacent to the University of Alabama. The address is 505 9th Street Tuscaloosa, AL 35401.   They do have some showers.  Sleeping arrangements will be sleeping bags.  There is a nearby Catholic church as well for those who would like to go to Mass.
  3. If you are flying in, fly into Birmingham  airport.  We can arrange transportation to and from the airport.
  4. There is a chance we will be working in a few surrounding communities as well, but it depends on the number of volunteers we get and the amount of transportation we have.
  5. Food is included.  You will have to buy a t-shirt so we can all identify ourselves. The cost is $5.  If you would like a second shirt, it will cost $10.
  6. Vans will leave SBU on Monday the 16th at 8AM (we will need help packing them on the 15th after graduation).  
  7. Please take work clothes: boots are required.  We also encourage you to being work gloves.  All volunteers must have had a tetanus shot in the last 7 years. 
  8. Transportation will be an issue, so if you are meeting us in Alabama and can help drive, that would be great!
  9. You will want some spending money for there and in transport.
  10. The first van will leave to go back on Sunday.  It will turn around and come back to Alabama on the Monday the 23rd.
  11. If you want to stay longer, we can arrange places for you to stay after we leave.

What to bring:
Space in vans may be tight, this is not an exhaustive list, but here are some recommendations:

  1. A good attitude--by far the most important.  We want hard working and flexible people who want to help.  It will be fun even though it won't go as planned.
  2. Work clothes (jeans, long sleeve tee, short sleeve tee, sweatshirt, workboots (ideally steel toed).
  3. Gloves--leather is best IMO
  4. Sun glasses/safety goggles
  5. Sleeping bag (pillow if you want one--yoga block works great and is smaller)
  6. Flashlight
  7. Phone charger
  8. Digital camera, charger
  9. Towel
  10. Toiletries etc (contacts, toothpaste, toothbrush, etc)
  11. Water bottle
  12. Granola bars etc for drive

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Friday, May 06, 2011

Video from food packing event

I must not have posted this to the blog.  Today when I was giving a presentation I went to look for it and it was not here it is now!  Thanks to Mike for doing a GREAT job on the video!

Packaging the Food for Hatti Children from Michael Kintner on Vimeo.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

An update from Ringgold GA (From Larry and Bonnie)

Larry is on our Advisory Board.  He was in Biloxi in September of 2005 and he and Bonnie made many trips to the Gulf Coast and have been with us on many trips and local events.  They were already in the South when the tornadoes hit last week, so they went to Ringgold GA to help. 

I spoke with Larry tonight.  Here are a few of his comments and some pictures they sent.

"It is as devastated as anything I have seen.  Even after Katrina."

The town of about 3000...many buildings just gone...where the tornado touched down there is just basements left.  Away from it you have damaged homes and then further away you have roof damage.  The whole valley has trees blown down."

"Tell the [potential] volunteers that they are needed.  Alabama is supposedly worse than this, and this is bad."

"They [the volunteers] have to know to be prepared.  This is bad."

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Monday, May 02, 2011

New BonaResponds video from Phil

Phil made a new BonaResponds video for one of his classes.  Here it is, nice job!

BonaResponds Alabama Email update (send Sunday)

Alabama needs your help!

This past week a series of tornadoes swept through the American Southeast.  The storms skilled over 300 people (and many more are still missing), left paths if destruction that are almost unimaginable.

Hardest hit was Alabama with at least 13 confirmed tornadoes and over 200 killed.  The tornadoes left major swaths of destruction that look like out of a doomsday movie.

Here are but a few of the pictures and videos (more are on our blog.

Tuscaloosa (home of the University of Alabama) was perhaps the worst struck community.   Not only were the storms very strong, the tornadoes were wide, stayed on the ground for a long time, and hit a populated area.

Here is a video from helicopter coverage from Alabama's ABC 33/40:

From the New York Times on Sunday May 1, 2011:

“Now we’re getting a handle on exactly what we are facing,” said Mayor Walt Maddox of Tuscaloosa, “the nightmarish truth that this is an utter disaster.” :

I could go on and on.  Maybe I should.  Maybe we need to hear more of the stories.  But for now, I am going to be done. It gets depressing to know that there is so so so much destruction.  But if you want more however on the disaster, I recommend you browse

I ask you to do me a favor howerver.  Stop and imagine your town, your campus, your house literally blown away.   In some cases you may have lost loved ones, in all cases you know your life will never be the same.

Even if you are among the well prepared and have insurance and money set aside for just such events, there is a feeling of helplessness overwhelms you: there is so much to do.  You have no power, maybe no water, and in many cases no where to call home anymore.  The places you go for solace your parks, your churches, and your gyms are wrecked.  Your car is upside down in a ditch two blocks over from where you left it.  Your bank is gone.  City hall is gone.

What do you do?  Where do you start?  How can you do it?  Now imagine the same thing happening to the elderly, the poor, or the handicapped.  How can they do it?

That is why we are going.  We can help.  We can pick up debris, tarp roofs, cut up trees, and much more.  We will bring our tools, we will bring volunteers from a far that will bring new energy to an area that by the time we get there will be tired from weeks of work and stress, and we will bring a reminder that others care.

In a sense, our picking up debris, will be helping to pick up spirits of those who survived the tornadoes.  And that will be our most valuable job.

Won't you help?  We will have a camp in the Tuscaloosa area from May 16th to May 30th (at least).  The exact location is still being worked out, but we will be there.  You can come for a day, a week, or the entire time.

We will have at least one or two vans leaving St.Bonaventure with people and supplies.

The cost of the van from SBU will be $100.  Lodging (bring sleeping bags!) will be free.  Food there will be free.  SO come on down and help.  Not only will you be helping others, you will be helping yourself.  I guarantee you will walk away with a better perspective on life and also many new friends.

All BonaResponds trips are open to all, so come on and help!  (under 18 must be accompanied by a parent).

Sign up here on our google form.

We can get work for people.  From drivers (we will pick people up at the Birmingham Airport), to cooking, to paperwork, to removing damaged trees) you are needed.

Want to help but can't come?  We will need money for supplies, gas, and food.  You can donate online (just be sure to say it is for BonaResponds in the "Other" designation pull down) or can mail a check to BonaResponds Box BY St. Bonaventure NY 14778.

I hope to see many of you in Alabama! :)



PS. Please forward this!

As many of you know, this will not be our first relief trip to Alabama.  We were also there in 2007 in the aftermath of the horrible tornado that hit the Enterprise region (including hitting the high school).  To this day, that trip has helped to shape my thinking on disaster response as much as even Katrina.  Here are some pictures of that trip and a blog article entitled Ant People remains one of my all time favorite BonaResponds' stories.)

Sunday, May 01, 2011

A look around at news from Alabama

South Struggles to Assess Toll -
"Federal officials visited Birmingham Sunday to view the beginnings of a storm cleanup and rebuilding effort. 'I don't think words can fairly express the level of devastation here,' said Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, touring the devastated area of Pratt City, a mostly black working-class neighborhood that was hard hit by the tornado.

Finding housing for the thousands of newly homeless throughout the Southeast 'will be the single most critical part of the recovery,' said Shaun Donovan, who heads the Department of Housing and Urban Development. About 700 families remained in shelters across Alabama on Sunday, but 'we know that there are hundreds and hundreds more who are with relatives' who will soon swell the ranks of those who need long-term living arrangements, Mr. Donovan said.
Scary piece on the scope of injuries from CNN (see also the video)
But like nearly every doctor in Tuscaloosa, orthopedic surgeon Brian Claytor didn't need his beeper to tell him to head to the trauma center.
Claytor said he didn't know what to expect when he arrived at DCH Regional Medical Center on Wednesday.
"The emergency room was just overflowing," said Claytor, 38. "I was just in shock when I walked in to see the sheer volume of injured people and the severity of the injuries."
Patients filled the hallway and every available room. Injuries ranged from minor cuts, lacerations and broken ankles to severe trauma from debris that sliced patients' heads, chests and abdomens." continues to amaze me with their coverage (mark it down now, they will win a Pulitzer). In this article they point out the importance of volunteers:
"ARAB, Alabama - Governor Robert Bentley said Sunday that Alabama is a Level 1 disaster area comparable to Katrina and the World Trade Center after 9/11.

Touring storm damage near Arab Sunday, Bentley praised the state's volunteer spirit and said even more volunteers are needed in the days and weeks ahead. Call "211" to volunteer, or sign up for Madison County duty beginning today at the First Baptist Church on Governors Drive."
WTOK reminds us that many schools are helping: (Psst...we're coming too ;) )

"Dearman says she got the idea when she learned of a group of Auburn alumni offering aid to tornado victims in the area.
Other student groups have pledged support to Tuscaloosa, including students at Mississippi State, LSU, South Carolina, and even Penn State."
WDAM tells us the same about students at Alabama:
"Students from the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, AL, are working together to help pick up the pieces following this week's devastating tornadoes.
With nearly 12,000 pounds of food and more than 100 volunteers, the University Greek Relief fund started Wednesday night when a few students saw a need and a came up with a simple plan to help: a hot meal."
Update:  this from the Los Angeles times is amazing!  Before and after "slider" shots

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