BATON ROUGE, La. -
With Enterprise Holdings sending resources as well, National Automobile Dealers Association president Peter Welch and National Automobile Dealers Charitable Foundation chairman Annette Sykora arrived in the flood-ravaged areas of Louisiana’s capital city and announced they would seek to raise $2 million for franchised dealership families displaced by devastating flooding.
Welch and Sykora are meeting with dealers and dealership employees in Baton Rouge this week to assess the need for financial assistance. NADA reported that initial estimates indicate more than 1,200 dealership families from 60 dealerships in Baton Rouge and surrounding areas have been flooded out of their homes and desperately need financial assistance.
“At NADA, we view our dealerships as one big family. When a member of our family hurts, we all hurt,” Welch said. “That’s why it’s time to come together and help our dealership family members who are hurting in Louisiana by contributing to the NADA Foundation’s Emergency Relief Fund.
“We call on auto dealers across America to help raise funds to help families through the NADA Foundation’s Emergency Relief Fund,” he continued.
The Emergency Relief Fund provides dealership families with funds up to $1,500 affected by natural disasters. Dealership employees can apply for financial assistance through the NADA Foundation's Emergency Relief Fund.
To date, the fund has supported more than 8,700 dealership families affected by natural disasters. To apply for assistance or to contribute to the fund, call (703) 821-7102 or visit www.nada.org/emergencyrelief.
“The flooding in Louisiana has been described as the worst natural disaster since Hurricane Sandy,” said Sykora, who served as NADA chairman in 2008. “Now that the flood waters have receded, the real work of rebuilding begins.
“Thousands of dealership employees and their families have suffered devastating losses from the recent flooding,” Sykora added about the disaster where as much as much 22 inches of rain fell in a 48-hour span. “The need for financial assistance will be significant and will last for months to come.”
Automotive Compliance Consultants heard the call and quickly responded with a donation of $1,000 to aid dealership employees affected by recent floods in Louisiana.
The firm also called on other vendors marketing to dealerships to get behind this NADA initiative and donate
“We hear the call from Peter Welch, president of NADA, for dealerships to donate $1,000 each to the National Automobile Dealer Association’s Emergency Relief Fund to raise $2 million for employees of dealerships affected by these devastating floods,” said Terry Dortch, president of Automotive Compliance Consultants.
“Though not a dealer, we owe it to dealerships nationwide who trust our compliance services to help out like this when disaster strikes so many who feed their families, pay their bills, and live in great communities due to their employment in America’s automobile dealerships,” said Dortch, a former dealer.
President Obama traveled to Baton Rouge on Tuesday, as well, and he echoed some of the same sentiment as NADA's leadership.
"Sometimes when these kinds of things happen, it can seem a little bit too much to bear," Obama said on Tuesday. "But what I want the people of Louisiana to know is that you’re not alone on this.
"Even after the TV cameras leave, the whole country is going to continue to support you and help you until we get folks back in their homes and lives are rebuilt," the president went on to say.
Enterprise sending money & vehicles
In the wake of devastating flooding, Enterprise Holdings is working with the insurance industry and disaster relief agencies to help meet the transportation needs of Louisiana residents and first responders traveling to the region.
The Enterprise Rent-A-Car Foundation — the philanthropic arm of the Enterprise brand — also is donating $100,000 to the American Red Cross to provide shelter, food, water and supplies for residents in the affected areas.
“Communication and cooperation are key in overwhelming situations like these,” said Mike Edwards, general manager and vice president for Enterprise Holdings, which operates National Car Rental and Alamo Rent A Car as well as the Enterprise Rent-A-Car brand in southern Louisiana.
“After a catastrophic event, there's an urgent and immediate need to support disaster relief teams as they lead cleanup and repair efforts,” Edwards continued.
Enterprise highlighted that it already has deployed more than 3,500 vehicles into affected portions of Louisiana to aid in the recovery process.
“We are coordinating with operations in neighboring states and shipping rental vehicles into Southern Louisiana as quickly as possible,” Edwards said. “We work directly with our insurance industry partners to coordinate and process information for the benefit of our mutual customers.
“We also are in direct contact with relief agencies so vehicles are ready and waiting for them to fan out across the affected parishes,” he went on to say.