Yesterday we posted the e-mail that NAM President John Engler sent to all NAM members, giving the coordinates for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) donation site: www.swern.gov. Also, yesterday we noted a bunch of our members who were first out of the chute: Toyota (we said $2 million yesterday, today it’s up to $5 million), Dupont, Bayer, and Chevron.
Well today, Katrina’s torrent was matched by a torrent of charity from manufacturers large and small across this great manufacturing nation, some $40 million at last count. Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Anheuser-Busch and Crown Cork & Seal all sent truckloads of bottled water. Abbott Labs sent some $2 million in cash and $2 million in nutritional and medical products. Holloway Sportswear re-opened a closed facility to be used as an emergency shelter for the Red Cross. Johnson & Johnson and Procter & Gamble donated cash and personal care products to the effort.
It is just so heartening to watch the tremendous outpouring of charity and products — the best in the world — from America’s manufacturers. These are our members and we are always proud of them, but at times like these, our hearts especially well with pride. This is still day one, folks. We expect the $40 million number to grow enormously.
We had a conference call late yesterday afternoon hosted by John Engler with Al Martinez-Fonts, Special Assistant to the head of DHS, and responsible for private sector outreach. We had a bunch of members on the call. Al gave out the website address again — for donations or for sale to the government — and it’s clear that donations are pouring in, from the Bottled Water Association to Guardian Industries to the Safety Equipment Association. DHS priorities now, said Fonts, are saving lives and sustaining lives. Manufacturers are at the forefront of both efforts, efforts that would be fruitless without their work.
So as you watch the TV like the rest of us, torn between inability to avert your gaze and the inability to look at all, be heartened as we are by the work of the manufacturers around us. However long the road to recovery will be, it would be impossible without the work of America’s manufacturers. We salute them all.
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