Savannah, Ga.-based heavy equipment manufacturer JCB has donated the use of various machines to assist with clean-up efforts in Georgia and Alabama following the violent storms that rocked the region on April 27, the latest donations in the company’s ongoing support of disaster relief efforts worldwide.
“As a global organization, JCB has assisted with relief efforts in a number of countries over the years,” said JCB North America chairman and CEO John Patterson said. “The residents of Georgia and Alabama are JCB’s neighbors here in the United States, and upon learning of the devastation left behind by the recent storms, we knew that we wanted to help them in any way we could.”
After hearing of the widespread damage throughout the deep South, JCB employees in Savannah and dealers in Georgia and Alabama devised plans to donate the use of heavy equipment to launch the long recovery process in the areas hardest hit by the powerful storms.
Spencer Howard, a member of JCB’s demonstration crew based at the North American Headquarters in Savannah, came up with the idea to take a JCB New Generation 280 skid-steer loader with fork, bucket and grapple attachments to Ringgold and begin clearing roadways. Howard became part of a volunteer crew that worked from daylight to dark, Friday, April 29 through Sunday, May 1, using the JCB 280 skid steer’s speed and maneuverability to clear as much debris as possible.
“I have family in that area, and I felt like it was my responsibility to help out,” Howard said. “We saw houses torn from their slabs, an entire golf course development where none of the homes remained. The devastation, what those people are experiencing right now, was unbelievable. When I had to leave, people I didn’t even know hugged and thanked me. That made the entire trip worthwhile.”
Peter Cunningham, JCB's district manager in Alabama and Florida, together with Mark Long, president and owner of JCB of Alabama, secured a 3CX backhoe loader from JCB's Savannah headquarters to assist in the Alabama relief efforts.
The 3CX’s front end loader is well suited for debris collection, and the reach of its excavator end allows the unit to be used to extend over debris piles. The dealership received the backhoe on May 10, and municipal workers in surrounding communities will use it to continue clearing debris.
“We wanted to get machines where they were needed most,” Cunningham said. “By working with JCB of Alabama, we were able to immediately provide the use of a 3CX to the city of Dora for its recovery and clean-up process.”
“In our line of work, it’s normal for us to receive calls for assistance when natural disasters take place,” Long explained. “As a company, we try to use whatever equipment we have in our yard to help out as quickly as possible. We were extremely grateful that JCB came to us with the idea of donating the use of a 3CX, because the more machines that we can offer to the local municipalities, the faster we can help the residents of those areas recover from this disaster.”
In addition to the City of Dora, JCB of Alabama donated the use of its equipment to the communities of Fultondale and Hueytown.
JCB of Georgia in Savannah partnered with David Mills Construction in Ringgold, Ga., to find an operator for the 3CX backhoe is donated to the clean-up efforts.
“When they contacted me about relief efforts, I’d been using my own equipment to try and help out, said David Mills, owner. “But the use of the donated 3CX backhoe has helped us remove even more debris in less time.”
Mills will use the 3CX from JCB of Georgia to clean up and separate tree debris from building scrap material.
“The people here in Ringgold are my friends and neighbors, and they simply need my help,” Mills said. “They need to be able to get to their home sites and salvage what’s left, and clearing debris is the least that I can do for them.”
JCB has a long history of philanthropic endeavors. In 2010, JCB sponsored the “Backhoe Across America” charity drive in an effort to raise funds for Haiti following its devastating earthquakes. That same year, JCB donated $150,000 worth of equipment to Haiti for clean-up and relief efforts. Also in 2010, JCB pledged assistance worth more than $100,000 for rebuilding efforts in Chile after its disastrous earthquakes.
JCB has 18 plants on four continents: 11 in the UK, three in India and others in the U.S., China, Germany and Brazil. The company employs more than 7,000 people worldwide.