Upfront: OPE industry rises to the occasion

By Steve Noe

When natural disasters strike and leave thousands of people in desperate need of the most basic necessities such as food, water, shelter and electricity, I always take great pride at how quickly and generously our industry responds with an outpouring of support.

And that was certainly the case following the devastation left behind by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria. Shortly after each of these hurricanes struck, I was flooded with news about the industry’s generous relief efforts.

The Equipment Dealers Foundation (EDF) — the publicly supported 501 (c)(3) charitable organization of the Equipment Dealers Association (EDA) — along with support from several regional associations, released a call to action for their members and the agriculture community as a whole to ask for donations to EDF’s Disaster Relief Fund that assists equipment dealers and their employees. In response to EDF’s request, Grasshopper, an EDA manufacturer member, called upon its employees to contribute to the Disaster Relief Fund and promised to match every dollar donated. Ariens Company also donated $10,000 to the EDF fund.

After Hurricane Harvey hammered southeast Texas, Hisun Motors Corp. USA of McKinney, Texas, teamed up with the Guns & Hoses Foundation of North Texas to donate 250 generators (retail value of approximately $225,000) to assist with rescue and relief efforts. Having heard about Hisun’s generous gesture, Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks, and J.J. Barea, a Mavericks player and Puerto Rico native, called on Hisun for assistance after Hurricane Maria pummeled Barea’s homeland. Hisun responded by providing 20 additional generators that were loaded on Cuban’s private jet and transported to Puerto Rico.

Another Texas-based company, Mahindra North America of Houston, its employees and dealer network teamed up to help with the relief, recovery and rebuilding efforts in the aftermath of Harvey. Collectively, they donated money to the Greater Houston Community Foundation and the American Red Cross. Additional tractors and utility vehicles were made available to dealers for immediate use in rebuilding efforts. Equipment was immediately made available to government entities, companies and customers to ease the burden of access to a larger fleet for cleanup efforts. The combined donation of cash, services and equipment was $1.5 million.

Deere & Company made a $1-million cash donation to support Habitat Hammers Back, a long-term recovery initiative organized by Habitat for Humanity International, to help repair and rebuild communities ravaged by hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria. Deere also deployed heavy equipment by its business divisions and dealers to help in the recovery efforts.

The Caterpillar Foundation donated $300,000 to the American Red Cross to help with Hurricane Harvey relief efforts in Texas, where Caterpillar and its subsidiaries have more than 20 locations and thousands of employees. In addition, Caterpillar and its nationwide network of dealers, including three in Texas, made generators available for power needs. Caterpillar also sent equipment to help with power-loss and cleanup efforts in the storm-ravaged areas.

Doosan Bobcat donated more than $325,000 worth of Bobcat equipment and Doosan Portable Power light towers and generators to assist with Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma relief efforts. The company also provided financial assistance to affected Doosan Bobcat North America dealership employees and their families.

And undoubtedly, there were contributions made by countless others in this great industry. Please share your hurricane relief contribution stories with all of us on OPE’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/OutdoorPowerEquipmentMag and continue to rise to the occasion when natural disasters strike.

Steve Noe
OPE Senior Editor Steve Noe