ALDOT crews, Alabama State Troopers and contract workers have been pulling long shifts and working tirelessly to get the I-65 Dolly Parton bridge back in working condition since Thursday night’s fiery and fatal 18-wheeler crash. Over the past few days, one local agency has also been there working alongside these officials – The Salvation Army of Coastal Alabama.
The Salvation Army was requested by the Mobile County Emergency Management Agency on Thursday afternoon to provide relief for the first responders who spent hours in the heat battling the inferno that erupted from the wreck. They quickly mobilized an emergency response team and sent a canteen (mobile feeding unit) to the scene. They stayed all evening, serving around 150 first responders water, Gatorade, sandwiches, fruit, snacks and more.
“Anytime we get a call from our partners at the EMA or any other first responders, we are eager to jump into action and get them the support they need. Whether it’s food, hydration or emotional support, we are proud to serve the people who put their lives on the line to keep the rest of us safe,” explained Katie Emer, Public Relations Director for The Salvation Army of Coastal Alabama.
But once the flames were out, the need for The Salvation Army was still there. Because the crash happened in such a remote location, deep onto the bridge, the clean-up and repair crews had no way to get food or drinks to refuel themselves as they continued to work on the bridge Friday. ALDOT again asked for the assistance of The Salvation Army.
“The workers were stuck in the middle of the bridge with no shade, the summer sun beaming down on them. The sun not only reflected off the concrete, but up from the water, too. And even the charred areas on the concrete were still giving off heat. It is so important to stay hydrated in heat like that,” said Emer. “We can pack the canteen with enough food and drinks to last basically the entire day.”
The Salvation Army crew and canteen were on scene all day Friday, and have headed back out to the bridge today (Saturday). They plan to continue their relief efforts as long as needed.
“We’ve also been driving food, snacks and drinks around to the state troopers and police officers manning the blockades, because they, too, have been working long shifts without breaks. It’s so rewarding to see them smile when we drive up, knowing that we’ve got something good for them. They have all been incredibly grateful,” Emer explained.
The Salvation Army of Coastal Alabama is asking for your help to be able to continue providing these urgent and vital services. Their emergency disaster response ministry is funded entirely from community donations.
“Everyone thinks of The Salvation Army at Christmas, but by the time summer rolls around, our funds are incredibly low. And this year, we have seen an increased need for various emergency response efforts. Less than a month ago, we were operating our emergency shelter and providing relief from the historic floods that affected Mobile and Baldwin Counties. We also had a brutal winter, opening more than 40 nights as a cold weather emergency shelter.”
They are asking that monetary donations be sent to their office at 1009 Dauphin Street, Mobile, AL 36604. Or you can donate online from their website http://www.SACoastAL.org. Or call 1-800-SAL-ARMY to donate by phone.
“We really appreciate any help we can get, so that we can continue helping our community.”