CHESTER CITY— Delco is sending lots of love – and a ton of critically needed supplies – to the hurricane-ravaged Bahamas.

Morer than a dozen pallets of supplies donated to the local Fraternal Order of Police will be shipped off to the Bahamas this week.

Two box trucks and a trailer carrying 18 pallets of cases of water, ready-to-eat goods and other items received a police escort from dozens of local police officers to the GWSI Inc. warehouse along the Chester waterfront Tuesday morning. The John Steer Company and M Gerace Inc. will be transporting the goods free of charge to the Freeport shipping terminal in the Bahamas to help in their recovery efforts after Hurricane Dorian battered the islands last week.

All of the items are enough to fill almost an entire shipping container.

A donation drive by FOP Lodge 27 kicked off last Wednesday at the Folcroft Police Department and the Delaware County District Attorney’s office to collect a list of items to accommodate law enforcement officers in the Carolinas, an area expected to be hit hard by Dorian but escaped severe damage. But a decision was quickly made to transport the donations to the storm-ravaged Caribbean islands instead, including the the Grand Bahama island where Freeport is located.

“The help we had throughout Delaware County, it wasn’t a challenge at all,” said Folcroft Deputy Police Chief and FOP Lodge 27 2nd Vice President Chris Eiserman, about changing course. “The residents of the county really stepped up and their response was overwhelming, along with our local law enforcement.”

The change in operations and delivery logistics is a common occurrence for the company owners shipping donations to the Bahamas, “just switching gears and doing what we do every day,” said Dan Wackerman, president of John Steer.

“The important thing is that it means a lot more to us, for people to get involved in this area.” he said.

Mike Gerace, president of M Gerace Inc., said his company has a working relationship dealing with imports from Freeport.

“We deal with Freeport a lot in our business and we’re on hold right now,” said Gerace. “We’ll see how it works out in the next couple of weeks.” He added that his company is involved with other FOP initiatives and that this latest effort gives the residents of the Bahamas “a little bit of hope.”

“For us to do (ship) it’s pretty easy. The biggest thing is that we’re helping people out,” said Gerace.

The donations may take days or even weeks to be delivered to the port, according to Wickerman, noting the shipping terminal needs to be up and functioning in Freeport in order to manage the cargo. A receiver will also need to be designated per federal shipping rules.

Tuesday's push to get the materials to the port and on their way to the Bahamas came on the eve of the 9/11 anniversary, a point made by District Attorney Katayoun Copeland in addressing how county residents routinely open their hearts to individuals and other countries in need.

“The world turned and helped us,” she said about the outpouring of international support following the deadliest terrorist attack on American soil 18 years ago, on Sept. 11, 2001. Terrorists commandeered jets and flew them into the World Trade Center towers in New York City, the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., and into a field in Shanksville, western Pennsylvania when heroic passengers and crew tried to regain control of the plan. “Today, we get to help another country and help them in a way that we’re capable of. We’re happy to do that and I’m incredibly proud to stand with our brothers and sisters in uniform and help anybody else in the world.”

The Bahamas is home to some 400,000 residents. At least 50 have been reported dead in the wake of Dorian and another 70,000 are believed homeless. The country, an independent commonwealth of the English crown, has been receiving aid from the U.K. Royal Navy as cleanup continues.

comments powered by Disqus