DLA Distribution Albany ships over 80,000 meals to feed those affected by hurricanes

By Cassandra Driskel DLA Distribution Albany, Georgia

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Hurricane Harvey, a Category 4 major hurricane forming Aug. 17, and making landfall in Southern Texas on Aug. 25, was an extremely destructive Atlantic hurricane, becoming the first major hurricane to make landfall in the United States since Wilma in 2005, ending a record 12-year drought in which no hurricanes had made landfall at such an intensity in the country.  

In a four day period, many areas received more than 40 inches of rain as the system meandered over eastern Texas and adjacent waters, causing catastrophic flooding. With peak accumulations of more than 51 inches, Harvey is the wettest tropical hurricane on record in the contiguous United States. 

The resulting floods inundating hundreds of thousands of homes, displacing more than 30,000 people and prompting more than 17,000 rescues. On the heels of Hurricane Harvey was Hurricane Irma. A Category 5 major hurricane forming Aug. 30, at peak intensity near the U.S. Virgin Islands, and on Sept. 6, reaching 185 mph winds, making it the strongest tropical cyclone worldwide so far in 2017. 

Hurricane Irma was the most intense Atlantic hurricane to strike the United States since Katrina in 2005 and the first major hurricane to make landfall in Florida since Wilma in 2005. Irma caused widespread and catastrophic damage, particularly in parts of the northeastern Caribbean and the Florida Keys. And DLA Distribution Albany, Georgia was ready, equipped and willing through it all.

On Aug. 25, Albany’s director Rita Varner was contacted by Jeffrey Leknes and Lorraine Zuchowski of DLA Troop Support, with the request for support through the shipping of meals ready to eat for military units supporting rescue and recovery efforts for Hurricane Harvey. Varner immediately agreed and began the process of forming teams to support the effort.

The Warehousing Team was spear-headed by Greg Mayo, warehouse supervisor; the Transportation Team and Transportation Office by Eric Krauss, transportation officer; and the Emergency Supply Operation Center Team by Marvin McKenzie and Gwendolyn Miller.

Albany has always been, and still is, an ideal location to provide this type of support, with its location being just seven hours from New Orleans and four hours from FEMA’s staging site in Orlando, Florida. Additionally, Albany is always well stocked with MREs.

With each team ready and in place to play their strategic part, beginning Aug. 29, more than 60,000 cases of MREs were shipped from Albany’s MRE Warehouse, through its Transportation Office to Texas in support of those affected by Hurricane Harvey. Beginning Sept. 5 through Sept. 8, more than 20,000 cases of MREs were shipped to Florida in support of the military units supporting rescue and recovery efforts for Hurricane Irma.

Mayo stated that once the teams were formed and instructions given by Albany’s director, “everything has gone like clockwork. Every team and every team member playing its vital part and working like a well-oiled machine in a spirit of excellence, around the clock, to be of assistance and service to those in need.”

Mayo stated, in conclusion, “we are ‘TEAM DDAG’ and in my opinion there is no greater team.”