It’s common for companies to make big cash donations after adisaster. But following Monday’s tornado in Oklahoma City , several firms are going beyond writing a check, offering helpthrough the use of their equipment, staff, buildings and otherin-kind donations. At Chesapeake Energy ( CHK , Fortune 500 ) , one of the city’s homegrown oil and gas firms, one crane and twofront-end loaders — the kind of heavy machinery normally used toassemble drilling rigs — are being used to help clear rubble fromthe disaster. They’re being manned by Chesapeake employees, workingon the company’s dime.
“Our equipment is designed to work in very austere conditions, andour people are trained for this,” said James Pratt, head ofemergency response at Chesapeake. “We get called quite regularly toassist in these large events.” Chesapeake has also provided about a dozen generator-powered floodlights for the rescue operations. On Tuesday, the company sent trucks up to a distributor in Wichita, Kansas,that normally supplies its workers with gear such as leathergloves, hard hats and safety glasses. It bought every item thedistributor had in stock, and plans to distribute them throughoutthe affected neighborhoods when people can finally return to sift through whatever is left oftheir homes.
Throughout Oklahoma City, dozens of businesses have stepped up,offering goods and services to help with the relief effort,according to the local Chamber of Commerce. CNN Impact: How you can help Moore Verizon ( VZ , Fortune 500 ) set up a mobile command center and is offering emergency phonesand charging stations. A LaQuinta Inn just west of downtown isgiving free rooms to those without a home. The Home Depot ( HD , Fortune 500 ) in Moore, ground zero for the destruction, is now a shelter forhomeless pets.
A local branch of T&W Tire has had up to a dozen service trucks in and around the disasterarea, offering free fixes for relief vehicles with tires damagedfrom all the debris. As of Tuesday morning, the trucks had fixedmore than 150 vehicles. “These emergency responders are working their tails off overthere,” said Steve Theissen, a managing partner at T&W. “Weneed to help keep them going.” The efforts extend beyond the business community.
The University of Oklahoma housed more than a hundred people Mondaynight in its dorms, and is serving free food as well. Laptops areset up at the University’s headquarters, a nurse is available totreat light injuries, and activities are being run to keep childrenentertained. “This is just part of being from Oklahoma,” said one localresident, noting that the community’s tradition of generosity intimes of emergency extends at least as far back the Oklahoma Cityfederal building bombing in 1995. “It’s become known as theOklahoma Standard.”.
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