Seaports Magazine - Summer 2014 - (Page 27)

» GUEST VIEWPOINT AAPA Port Employee Relief Fund a Helping Hand for Those in Need By Ron Brinson B 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 deductible." 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, very 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 in 2005. SUMMER 2014 * WWW.AAPASEAPORTS.COM 27 http://WWW.AAPASEAPORTS.COM

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Seaports Magazine - Summer 2014

Aapa Headquarters
From the President’s Desk
In Case of Emergency
Extreme Weather
Plug-Ins Enabled
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