As Waste Expo prepared to open in New Orleans, La. on May 20, back-to-back tornadoes destroyed towns in nearby Oklahoma, including the powerful tornado in Moore that injured 377 and killed 24 residents.
Mary John Spencer, owner of tradeshow carpet provider – Event Solutions, viewed coverage in-between the times her company prepared carpet for exhibitors of Waste Expo, a large solid waste and recycling tradeshow that was hosted in Ernest N. Morial Convention Center.
“After watching the horrific details for several days, I had the idea of sending the carpets to Oklahoma. We always have carpet at the end of a show with no place to go,” said Spencer. “The Oklahoma disaster seemed like the perfect avenue for us to take. It’s not often you get a chance to perform a humanitarian act.”
To get the donated carpet delivered from Louisiana to Oklahoma, Spencer asked for help. Waste Expo representatives recommended general contractor Global Experience Specialists (GES) to expedite the project, and exhibitors of Event Solutions volunteered to donate their carpets too after the tradeshow ended May 23.
“Being that New Orleans has faced similar disasters, I felt sure everyone would be eager to help. Tradeshows also have unexpected storms, and there is always someone who will come to your rescue,” said Spencer. “It was a great joint effort among everyone.”
Transporting 19 rolls of carpet to the Habitat for Humanity Restore, a nonprofit home improvement store and donation center, in Oklahoma was a tractor trailer belonging to Xpress Global Systems, a floor coverings logistics provider.
“We have a service center location in Oklahoma City with a dozen employees who were all affected in some way by this devastating tornado,” said John Bowes, president, Xpress Global Systems.
Xpress picked up the carpet rolls on June 1 and delivered them by June 7.
“We coordinated the delivery to Habitat for Humanity and instructed our driver to drop the trailer at their facility to allow them to offload the carpet as needed,” added Bowes. “We were happy to assist in donating the transportation costs related to this project.”
Helping to coordinate the delivery was Habitat Restore employee, Mike Jenkins.
“The Habitat Restore will distribute the carpet where the needs are the greatest,” said Spencer. “I assume there will be mobile homes brought in for temporary living quarters. They are generally not in the best condition.”
Event Solutions exhibitors that donated carpet included Volvo, Keith Manufacturing, Hino Trucks Perkins Manufacturing, Marathon Equipment and Heil Environmental. The Athalon Group, Tradeshow Resources and several Event Solutions employees also helped with the project.