What started out as a friend helping a friend has quickly expanded to a massive disaster relief effort by residents and businesses of Carbon County to help those affected by Hurricane Sandy in the borough of Sea Bright, N.J.
Organizer of the effort, Kevin Steber, sales engineer for KME/Kovatch Fire Apparatus in Nesquehoning, is on a mission. He says he simply could not sit back and do nothing.
Steber responded to the many personal texts and posts on Facebook by his friend, Sea Bright Fire Chief Charles (Chad) Murphy.
"I can no longer sit here and watch all this devastation in N.J.! I became good friends with the fire chief in Sea Bright, Chad, when they bought their KME fire truck earlier this year and they have lost everything in their borough including their fire station. This was one of the hardest hit areas of N.J. Enough is enough," Steber posted on a Facebook page created for the group, Carbon County Helps Sea bright, N.J.
Within minutes of his posting, Steber managed to rally hundreds of volunteers, including the Summit Hill Fire Department, to assist in the disaster relief effort by donating food, clothing and much needed supplies. The donations rolled in exponentially creating another unexpected challenge and that was how to transport and deliver the supplies to the people of Sea Bright. Fox Transportation of Tamaqua and the KME/Kovatch organization jumped on board immediately. As a result, the people of Sea Bright can expect a convoy to roll in to the rescue Saturday morning.
In addition to donating a tractor to haul a 53-foot trailer donated by Fox, KME/Kovatch and KME Service Department will be providing mobile service to perform preventative maintenance not only for Sea Bright but also for any fire department within the area.
"When a vehicle is working in water for extended periods of time, water tends to get into the axle housings, transmissions and engines. We plan to do fluid and filter changes as well as any pump repairs so they do not fail while they continue to protect and aid their communities in this time of disaster," said John Kovatch IV, director of Customer Service.
He added that the company is ready to provide service for any make and model of emergency vehicle for those nearby who are able to come to the service area location. The oil, filters and service are all being donated. Sea Bright Fire Chief Chad Murphy has advised KME that at the time of this release, 20 trucks are ready to be serviced.
The convoy is scheduled to deploy at 7 a.m. Saturday morning from the KME headquarters and will include the Fox Transportation trailer filled with food, clothing and supplies, two KME service trucks, an additional tractor trailer, donated by Kovatch Motorsports that will carry extra service supplies and equipment, several vans and a bus filled with volunteers from Carbon County.
Pennsylvania state police will escort it to the New Jersey state line where it will be met by New Jersey police and fire department officials. The final destination is the Little Silver Fire Department on Prospect Avenue in Little Silver, N.J., where the Carbon County convoy is expected to arrive and set-up their service area by mid-morning.
Carbon County Helps Sea Bright, N.J. on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/events/164281397047312/.