GREENE COUNTY — What started as a discussion among friends and a Facebook post turned into four-to-five truckloads of supplies being donated to Hurricane Harvey victims.
“This is a homegrown thing we put together,” Organizer Tom Arnett said. “That’s one of the big things — what’s the organization behind this? There’s not. It started as Tom Arnett, Shawn Long, Eric Shultz and Moorman’s Towing putting it together because we got tired of watching the news.”
So did the rest of the county.
Key Chrysler of Xenia donated trucks they could drive; Custom Cabs and Trailers of Jamestown donated another truck, cash and three trailers to carry the supplies; Cruisers Accessories donated bed liners for the trucks; Walmart of Xenia donated water; Greene, Inc. of Xenia donated 1,500 blankets and countless citizens from across Greene County donated food, baby supplies, clothing, toiletries and other items.
The Facebook post went up approximately 10:30 a.m. Aug. 29.
“It was just going to be us (Arnett, Long, Shultz) and a boat, we were going to try to find a truck,” Arnett said. “Next think you know, it lit off like wildfire … If you would have given me three days, I could have taken two or three semi loads, I guarantee it.”
Their mission as of press time Aug. 30 was effectively distributing the weight of the supplies among the vehicles and trailers before taking off at approximately 9 p.m. and driving straight down. Upon reaching Texas, they would deliver the supplies to a local high school, get in touch with their fellow former Marines friends then help rescue victims. They plan to come back to Xenia by Sunday, Sept. 3.
“I’ve got the money to cover gas to get down and hopefully lodging,” Arnett said. “… Four or five trucks are going down. We’re going up and down mountains with fully-loaded trailers so gas is going to be a nightmare. Any money leftover will be donated (to a Hurricane relief fund).”
Individuals who missed the trailers may still donate funds for the trip, even while they are gone, at Moorman’s Towing and Body Shop, 325 S. Miami Ave. in Xenia, as well as to any credit union across the nation by using account number 7275798 or by saying the funds are for the “Texas relief trip — Xenia boys.”
“We think it’s special what they’re doing,” said Chris Tobey, owner of Key Chrysler. “We’re community-minded first so we’re happy he called — it’s a good opportunity to help.”
Tobey added that when he received the phone call and the plea for help, he figured that donating a set of wheels to help get them to Texas was “the least they could do.”
“It’s amazing what they’re doing and we’re proud of them,” he said. “It’s great that they would drive down and spend [some time] helping.”
After experiencing a steady stream of donated supplies throughout the day, Shannon Carter, daughter of 46-year Owner of Custom Cabs and Trailers Larry Persinger, thought of her own community and let empathy take the lead.
“We simply donated trailers,” she said. “… We see the pictures on TV and I can’t imagine going through that. Putting on their shoes, it’s traumatic. They’ve lost everything, all their things are destroyed … I look at my neighbors and think ‘what would we do?’ I hope the items get to the people who need them. I just think ‘what if it was us?’”