Sept. 09–When floods devastated Johnstown in 1889, 1936 and 1977, people from all across the country offered their support and prayers.
It was a kindness area residents have never forgotten.
So, when others find themselves in times of need, especially from flooding, residents of the city and surrounding communities are always willing to repay the generosity. That spirit of helpfulness was on full display once again Friday when six tractor-trailers — filled with supplies — pulled away from Point Stadium and turned down Main Street — with a full escort from the city’s police and fire departments — en route to meet a seventh truck and eventually their destinations in Texas, which was recently slammed by Hurricane Harvey.
Drivers, who have volunteered their time, expect to reach their destinations in Houston and Rosenberg by Sunday.
“It’s just something you have to do,” said Aaron Korenoski, an owner-operator driver with MJ Daniels Trucking, minutes before he set out on a nearly 3,000-mile round trip.
“Nobody has to ask, and that’s what this is about. That’s what Johnstown is about. That’s what the United States is about. You’ve got to step up and help people. And that’s what we’re doing.”
The sendoff included a blessing from the Rev. James Crookston, rector at St. John Gualbert Cathedral in downtown Johnstown.
“It shows, as a community, we’re tied with the folk that these drivers are taking goods to, that this community has given,” Crookston said.
“We’re all joined together in God’s family. And God is with us at times of disaster. And we, as sons and daughters of God, are reaching out to our brothers and sisters and helping them in their time of need, especially for this community that has received help when we were in great need.”
The trucks that left Johnstown were provided by MJ Daniels Trucking and MMI Door, a company located in Sidman, near where the South Fork Dam broke in 1889, sending a wall of water into the valley.
“Especially for MMI Door being out of Sidman, St. Michael where our flood originated from, I felt we should just help out with the effort in the community,” Ethan Kabler, MMI Door’s operations manager, said.
Greater Johnstown/Cambria County Convention and Visitors Bureau led the effort, originally hoping to fill three trailers with supplies: water, food, toiletries, medical kits, pet care items and more. But, thanks to an outpouring of support, that goal was more than doubled.
“It’s just unbelievable the response that we received,” Lisa Rager, the bureau’s executive director, said.
Along with the CVB, numerous other individuals and businesses offered support, including, but not limited to, The Tire Clinic, Birk Transfer, Goodwill of the Southern Alleghenies, Cernic’s, University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown and 1st Summit Bank.
“We’re getting a lot of credit here at our organization, but if not for the trucking companies, the drivers, The Tire Clinic, and the warehouse, and just all the people who donated this would not be happening,” Rager said.
Matt Miller, who volunteered his time to help load the trucks, likely spoke for many people who played a role in the process when he said, “I came out to help because I feel like everyone needs help, especially in a disaster like this.”
Jocelyn Brumbaugh is a reporter for the Tribune-Democrat. Follow her on Twitter @JBrumbaughTD.
(c)2017 The Tribune-Democrat (Johnstown, Pa.)
Visit The Tribune-Democrat (Johnstown, Pa.) at www.tribune-democrat.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.