This article has been updated.
The flood that impacted a dozen parishes in Louisiana beginning Aug. 12 has been heralded as the biggest natural disaster in the U.S. since Hurricane Sandy in 2012. The unnamed storm, which dropped approximately 6.9 trillion gallons of rain on the state in one week (the hardest-hit areas saw over 30 inches fall in one day), decimated 40,000 to 110,00 homes, left over 3,000 people displaced, and claimed 13 lives.
One Louisiana dealer had several locations impacted by the flood. Stine Lumber’s Abbeville, Crowley, Brussard, Jennings, and Walker, La., locations were all affected by the storm in some way, Dennis Stine, president of Stine Lumber, said in a call with ProSales. The company’s Walker location was not directly impacted by the flood; it was commandeered by the National Guard.
Check out these images of the National Guard and Acadian Ambulance as they aided Louisiana flood survivors at Stine Lumber's Walker, La., location. The Walker store was used as a triage center and was one of the few areas in the flood zone dry enough for the helicopters to land.View All 8 Photos >
“We are in the middle of the flood zone and were high and dry and being used as a triage center and helicopter station for the National Guard,” Stine said. “We had customers come in and say they were delivered here by a helicopter in the parking lot.”
Despite having several locations closed intermittently because of flooding, all of Stine’s locations are now up and running. “We have all hands on deck,” Stine said. Despite employees getting back to work quickly, the company is making sure that it’s “taking care of [its employees]” as well as customers.
In a Facebook post from Aug. 15, Stine's Walker store updated its customers on the store's status and informed customers of the store's use as a triage center. That Facebook post received 1,000 likes and reactions, 680 shares, and more than 80 comments from grateful customers. Customers responded to the post with quick notes of thanks, while other users responded with stories of how well Stine's employees cared for their families while they were at the triage center. Since that post, the Walker store has updated its Facebook page each day with community news and its most current stock of emergency supplies.
While Stine Lumber is on the frontlines helping those affected by the storm, other LBM companies outside of the flood area are aiding the relief effort. Hardware Distribution Warehouses (HDW) announced that it is not only sending emergency shipments of building supplies to its dealers, but also pallets of water. “Our dealers affected in the Baton Rouge area have been loyal customers and friends of HDW for several years," Kenny Beauvais, president and CEO of HDW, said in a press release. "It is our community responsibility to assist the flood victims of that area." Beauvais further noted that recovery could take several years and that "HDW looks forward to assisting with the renewal of the area with the help of [its] dealers, friends, and customers."
Simpson Strong-Tie announced it will donate $10,000 to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund to be used in Louisiana. Home Depot Foundation announced $500,000 of its previous $1 million donation to the Red Cross will go toward Louisiana relief efforts. Lowes has also announced a $500,000 donation to the American Red Cross. In addition, the retail giants are assembling teams of volunteers from staff at their local stores. Georgia-Pacific announced it will donate $50,000 to the Baton Rouge Area Foundation (BRAF) Flood Relief Fund for the relief efforts and will match up to $50,000 in donations employees make to the Georgia-Pacific Assistance Fund held by BRAF.
Smaller companies have also lent a hand. Dash Lumber & Supply, New Orleans, was not impacted by the flood, but “having lived through the Katrina experience, we are quite sensitive to what our neighbors are now facing,” Michael Diecidue, president of Dash, said in an email to ProSales. "All of our efforts have centered on collecting and distributing items for our local food banks serving the affected areas."
The Red Cross, in a press release issued Monday, said it has so far raised $7.8 million to help Louisiana, but the estimated cost of the relief efforts is $30 million.
Click here to donate to the American Red Cross relief effort for the Louisiana floods.