By Yvonne Johnson, APG NewsNovember 9, 2012
ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. - Local donors and APG Garrison Command Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Jerry Owens led efforts to collect and transport hurricane relief supplies from Aberdeen Proving Ground to Fort Hamilton, in Brooklyn, N.Y., Nov. 7.
According to Owens, the Fort Hamilton Unit Ministry saw a need and requested emergency supplies for survivors of Sandy, the hurricane-turned-superstorm that ravaged the northeast coast in late October. Sandy is the largest and second costliest Atlantic hurricane on record, leaving more than 100 people dead in the U.S. and a multi-billion dollar damage estimate mounting.
While Harford County was left largely unscathed by the storm, APG's northern neighbors were flooded out of their homes and businesses and continue to deal with Sandy's devastating effects.
"We are responding as one Religious Support Office to another Religious Support Office through Operation Helping Hand," Owens said.
Throughout the year chapel services designate offerings and set aside money to respond to humanitarian needs for Soldiers, DoD civilians and the community.
"We will work directly with the Fort Hamilton Religious Support Office, and they will then work with local relief agencies to respond to identified needs," said Owens, noting that Operation Helping Hand does not supplant relief efforts by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and Red Cross.
Needed supplies include cleaning materials, bleach, eating utensils, non-perishable foods, winter clothing, blankets, flashlights, batteries, and other standard emergency provisions.
Two noncommissioned officers departed APG with the locally donated supplies, en route to Fort Hamilton the morning of Nov. 7.
Owens said he realizes people want to help but some don't know where to turn. He said anyone who would like to donate supplies can bring them to the chapel, which will serve as a "clearing house for the next couple of weeks."
Also assisting relief efforts is APG's Catholic Parish Council Coordinator Cathy Day, who is delivering emergency food and supplies to the Sayre Bible Church in Old Bridge, N.J., an area that was particularly hard hit.
"She's doing this on her own time as a private citizen," said Owens, adding that several people from the chapel community have offered to transport items as needed in their personal vehicles.
For more information, call APG's main post chapel at 410-278-4333.