On Wednesday, September 2, PGT Innovations, a national leader in premium windows and doors and the nation’s largest manufacturer of impact-resistant windows and doors, held a drive-thru Hurricane Laura Relief Supplies Distribution Event in Lake Charles, LA where the Florida-based company provided much-needed emergency supplies to those affected by the recent Category 4 hurricane. This relief effort is a continuation of PGT Innovations’ 15+ year history of post-hurricane community support.
Prior to the storm making landfall, the PGT Innovations team was already securing provisions, including more than 800 tarps, 1,700 batteries, 38,000 bottles of water, generators, chainsaws, oil, coolers, first aid kits, extension cords, and 200 flashlights, among several other items. Once the hurricane had moved past Louisiana and Lake Charles was identified as one of the hardest hit areas, PGT Innovations connected with Doug Ashy Building Materials, an authorized PGT Innovations dealer located in Lake Charles, to confirm the safety of their team and to request their partnership in hosting the relief supplies distribution event.
On Monday, August 31, two PGT Innovations semi-trailers loaded with the relief supplies set out on the 900-mile journey from Venice, FL to Lake Charles, LA. Arriving early morning Wednesday, September 2, the two truck drivers and seven additional team members from PGT Innovations, alongside 18 employees from Doug Ashy, unloaded and staged the supplies to create a drive-thru loading route through the Doug Ashy Building Materials’ parking lot. The route created an efficient and organized distribution process, while also supporting COVID-19 social distancing efforts to protect volunteers and those receiving the relief supplies, as the recipients remained in their vehicles while the relief supplies were loaded for them.
Between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m., more than 750 area residents drove through the distribution line while supplies lasted. Commodity items and non-perishable food items were also made available to the public. The remaining quantity of supplies – primarily water and tarps – were provided to residents of the Cameron Parish, LA area, where Hurricane Laura made landfall early on August 27.
The PGT Innovations volunteers included Sean Armantrout, Cesar Fuentes, Gary Greksa, Steve Smith, and AJ Wells, as well as truck drivers Dewayne Brown and Carl Sikkema.
“When a storm impacts any of our neighboring states – whether along the East Coast or across the Gulf, our team is compelled to help however we can with relief efforts to aid those families affected,” said Jeff Jackson, President and CEO of PGT Innovations. “As a company headquartered in Florida, we have seen the devastation that these incredibly powerful weather events can leave behind. Our goal is that the support and supplies we provide will help residents know that they are not in this alone; that there are companies and organizations that will be there to help them rebuild their homes, their communities, and their lives.”
PGT Innovations has donated emergency supplies or mobilized teams to send aid during several storms, such as Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas, Hurricane Michael in Florida’s Panhandle, Hurricane Irma in Southwest Florida, and Hurricane Florence in North Carolina.
“It’s truly remarkable what PGT Innovations has done,” shared D.J. Ashy, President of Doug Ashy. “Words can’t even explain how gracious we are that they came and helped with this event. It’s terrible to see what’s happened out here, but it’s uplifting to be able to do this for people.”
The U.S. National Weather Service states that Hurricane Laura is tied as the strongest land falling hurricane in Louisiana on record, with maximum wind speeds reaching 150 miles per hour at landfall. The organization also states that storm is tied for the fifth-strongest hurricane to hit the continental U.S.
WATCH the story on Fox 13 Tampa Bay
Hear from the drivers of the PGT Innovations Hurricane Relief Team who drove to Lake Charles, LA to deliver supplies to those impacted after Hurricane Laura devastated the region.