Seaports Magazine - Summer 2014 - (Page 27)
» GUEST VIEWPOINT
AAPA Port Employee Relief Fund
a Helping Hand for Those in Need
By Ron Brinson
ack in the early '80s, AAPA was
in its formative years of the
programs and initiatives that
define it today - governmental
relations, research, education and training,
and promoting professionalism.
There were many discussions at the
time about an often overlooked reality of
our industry: Ports and port authorities are
often complex equations of management,
engineering, high finance and politics, but
the underpinning of our industry is the
people who govern, manage and operate the
port systems the countries of the Western
Hemisphere depend upon.
This slogan summarized it well:
"Seaports are special, and so are the people
who run them."
There always has been a certain fraternal
ordering of the AAPA agenda. In an industry seemingly gripped by a never-ending
learning curve, we learn from each other,
sharing best practices, successes - and nonsuccesses - in AAPA forums and via association communications.
And these processes took on a new
dimension of humanity in 2005 following
Hurricane Katrina's devastating impacts
along the Gulf of Mexico. Many ports were
crippled by damage, but the lives of so many
port authority employees also were crippled.
Homes were destroyed, and families
were dispersed. There were injuries and
health emergencies. Many port workers
were consumed by the devastation of their
homes and a shortage of money and other
resources. Insurance and time would key the
rebuilding of port facilities, but the human
suffering formed an immediate and compelling picture of port authority workers and
their families needing immediate assistance.
With the reports of port workers suffering through dire circumstances growing
Contributions sustain the fund, and with
another hurricane season looming for many
U.S. and Latin America ports, the AAPA team
is promoting donations.
daily, AAPA President & CEO Kurt Nagle
acted quickly and boldly. Within days,
the association had set up the AAPA Port
Employee Relief Fund and was accepting
cash donations from port authority members
and AAPA's associate and contributing members. Many individuals also made donations.
It was a strong and sustained stream of
help and care - and generosity - within an
industry determined to honor its values of
mutual cooperation and assistance.
Procedures were quickly cobbled for getting assistance to those in "dire need" as
quickly as possible. At first, a couple of dozen
port authority employees received direct
cash assistance. Within weeks, though,
nearly 100 had been helped.
One employee at a Mississippi port
authority declared in a "thank you" note,
"The help from AAPA made a difference in
my family's desperate situation. It was the
first financial assistance we received, and
we used it to hold on until we could bring
some control back to our lives."
Following Hurricane Katrina, the AAPA
Port Employee Relief Fund quickly became
a standing part of the association's menu of
services. At the direction of the Executive
Committee and Board of Directors, AAPA
successfully petitioned the U.S. government
for tax exemption status for contributions.
Donations made by private companies
and individuals are thus considered "tax
Hurricane Katrina seemed to kick off a
series of damaging storms impacting ports
and port authorities in the United States
and Latin America. Wildfires in Southern
California several years ago damaged homes
of port authority employees. The Relief
Fund has been quickly activated whenever
natural disasters have left port industry colleagues in "dire need."
Contributions sustain the fund, and
with another hurricane season looming for
many U.S. and Latin America ports, the
AAPA team is promoting donations. They
should be made payable to the Foundation
for Seaports of the Americas, c/o AAPA,
1010 Duke St., Alexandria, VA 22314.
"We at AAPA and, most importantly, all
our port industry colleagues have greatly
appreciated the contributions for this
relief program over nearly nine years," says
Kurt Nagle. "The fund has made a difference in many lives, and we encourage and
welcome continued broad support of this
very successful project."
The AAPA Disaster Relief Fund is one
more initiative that documents AAPA's good
works, and it is a reminder of that theme
of the early '80s - "Seaports are special,
And so are the folks who manage, govern
and operate them!
Ron Brinson served as president & CEO of
AAPA from 1979 to 1986 and president &
CEO of the Port of New Orleans from 1986
to 2002. He has served as administrator of
the AAPA Relief Fund since its inception
SUMMER 2014 * WWW.AAPASEAPORTS.COM
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Seaports Magazine - Summer 2014
From the President’s Desk
In Case of Emergency
Partners in Fighting Crime
Her Path Leads to Ports
U.S. Needs New Transportation Law that Improves Quality of Life, Economy
Crisis at the Port: Planning Ahead Makes the Difference
Superstorms and Rising Sea Level Present a New Challenge for Ports
Aapa Port Employee Relief Fund a Helping Hand for Those in Need
Toronto Emergency Departments Hold Joint Ice and Cold Water Training Exercises
New Sonar Solution to Protect Aruba Ports Authority
Preparedness, Resiliency and Responsiveness in Mexico
Cat Islands Restoration Strengthens the Resiliency of Port of Green Bay, Local Environment
Index of Advertisers
Seaports Magazine - Summer 2014