ERJ staff report (TB)
Akron, Ohio -- When an earthquake of 7.0 magnitude devastated Haiti 12 Jan, its effects hit close to home for at least a couple of tyre dealers in Florida.
Andy Martino, president of Martino Tire Co. in Miami, was born in Haiti, and Patrick Assali, co-owner of Deal Tire & Wheel in Medley, Florida, grew up in Haiti, where his father still lives. Their family members still living in the poverty-stricken nation survived the disaster.
Both men and their companies have collaborated, along with Hercules Tire & Rubber Co.'s Tire Dealers' Warehouse, to collect food and supplies at Martino Tire's 14 stores in southern Florida to ship to Haiti.
They join others in the tyre industry who are doing their part to help earthquake victims.
â€œHaving grown up in Haiti, I felt helpless...You look at how the people are living... I feel very frustrated,â€ Mr. Assali said. Communication with his father in Haiti has been sporadic due to the damage to the communications network. His father is sometimes able to call out on the telephone, but mostly communication is handled via e-mails, he said.
Mr. Assali sent out an e-mail plea to customers and acquaintances to donate to charities or participate in the Martino Tire collection. His sister has been coordinating the collection with Martino Tire.
Deal Tire has been using its 16 delivery trucks to visit the Martino stores in the afternoons, after they've finished their deliveries, to load up the donations and store them at the local Deal Tire warehouse.
When Mr. Assali spoke to Tire Business, one of the stores already had collected enough supplies from the community to fill a 16-foot box truck.
Hercules' TDW warehouse also has been lending the use of its trucks to collect the donations from Martino Tire. Rocky McDonough, regional manager for the Southeast, said Hercules has donated monetarily to Haiti relief efforts and has been encouraging its wholesale customers to donate to the cause, as well as offering to help coordinate pickup and delivery of donations.
The Martino Tire collection drive also received some publicity through the local media, Mr. Martino said.
As of 23 Jan, the Martino Tire stores had collected enough bottled water, canned food, blankets, clothes and medical supplies to load a 30-foot shipping container that will be delivered by a relief organization to Haiti. Mr. Martino said he hopes to collect enough donations to fill another container.
Meanwhile Dunn Tire llc of Buffalo, New York, is donating $5 for every tyre sold through each of its 29 stores in western and central New York and northern Pennsylvania through 14 Feb. The donations will be given to Hands On Disaster Response Organisation.
Dunn Tire also is offering a free New York State vehicle safety inspection or $10 off a Pennsylvania State vehicle inspection to customers who donate $10 or more for Haiti relief at any of its stores.
Commercial Tire Service, a subsidiary of Miami-based Tire Group International Inc. (TGI), hosted a charity â€œPaella Dinnerâ€ on 22 Jan with more than 150 guests at the company's commercial service center to raise funds for Haiti. The event capped a 10-day Haiti Food & Relief Drive the tyre wholesaler held at its Miami location.
â€œWe as a company are proud of the commitment from our employees and partners to make this drive a success. TGI and its affiliated companies will be donating in excess of $260 000 to charitable organisations dedicated to the aid efforts in Haiti.â€ said TGI ceo Antonio Gonzalez.
Among other tyre-related companies that are donating money and supplies are:
• Canadian Tire Corp. is sending tents, sleeping bags, flashlights and batteries to Haiti as part of its support of the Canadian charity OneXOne. Canadian Tire also has agreed to provide additional merchandise at-cost to the charity to maximize the monies that have been raised to purchase needed equipment in Haiti.
• Michelin North America Inc. is donating $100 000 to the American Red Cross and is matching employees' contributions for up to another $100 000;
• Bridgestone Americas will donate about $77 000 to assist with relief efforts;
• Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. has pledged up to $25 000 and will match up to $25 000 in employee donations; and
• Goodyear, which also is providing financial support to the Red Cross, is flying one of its blimps over South Florida flashing messages encouraging donations to the relief organisation.
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Tyre industry rushes to provide Haiti aid from Tire Business (a Crain publication)