Promise kept. $7,500 in relief aid for Hurricane Sandy victims raised in 7 days.

Many people who follow because I said I would probably don’t know this, but I am a volunteer with the Community Emergency Response Team, a disaster response organization supported by FEMA. This training has brought me closer to the realities of natural disasters and their effect on society. On November 2nd, I made this promise.

I posted this picture to the because I said I would facebook page and started taking donations through the website. I also put a jug to accept donations on my desk at work. This is a picture of my friend Sam at Hyland Software, where I work. He was the first donor and contributed $200!

Not only did Sam donate $200, he also donated a promise that he would split the difference with me if I couldn’t raise the full $2,000. Thankfully I was able to keep my word, so Sam’s promise card was returned.

I was able to raise over $7,500 in 7 days. I received over $2,500 through becauseisaidiwould.com and from donations from employees of Hyland Software, where I work. Additionally, The Airline Professionals Association Teamster Local No. 1224 heard about my promise to bring disaster relief supplies to NY/NJ. They gave me a check for $5,000 and asked me to deliver it to The American Red Cross operations center in NYC on their behalf. My friend Jimmy drove up from Columbus, Ohio to make the trip with me on November 9th. I’ve known Jimmy since I was 10 years old and when my father passed away he promised me that he would come visit me up in Cleveland. He’s growing out his hair for Locks of Love :)

I spoke with a few organizations in NY about what type of supplies were in demand. Our first mission was to go those supplies from Costco. The lady who took this picture works in Costco’s marketing department. She said we would be in the Costco magazine soon, lol. We thought we would only need two carts..almost…

We packed everything up into my van and grabbed a bite to eat at at a restaurant in Lakewood, Ohio (where I live) before we left. Anderson Cooper warned us to be careful :)

We left at 10:30pm and drove through the night. In case you were wondering, two 5 hour energies equals 10 hours of energy, lol. As the sun came up, we arrived at the last rest stop before NYC.

Jimmy and I arrived in Jersey City, NJ at around 8:00am. My brother’s best friend Jon let us stay at his place and helped us navigate the area.

After quick nap, we drove to our first destination: The Tunnel to Towers Staten Island donation center. Tunnel to Towers is a non-profit founded to honor the legacy of Stephen Siller, FDNY, who laid down his life on 9/11. As you can imagine, the donation site was pretty frantic.

Despite looking a little grumpy in this picture, the coordinator from Tunnel to Towers was very helpful. Volunteers can be seen in the background unpacking some of the supplies and food we bought.

Good job, guys.

Our next stop was the American Red Cross of Greater New York operations center in downtown NYC. They were kind enough to take us on a tour of the building. Here’s a picture of Papa John’s and the University of Kentucky making us look bad… lol

This is where we would drop of the $5,000 check donated by The Airline Professionals Association Teamster Local No. 1224.

I spoke with this lady from their Public Affairs department. She wrote about because I said I would in the American Red Cross internal newsletter. On a side note, she asked me if was single and was keenly interested in introducing me to a volunteer named Jiselle. I’m pretty sure she was trying to hook me up, which I couldn’t stop laughing about.  If you’re out there Jiselle, yes, I’m single.

Overall, the trip was success. Big thanks to Jimmy for being my navigator and to Jon for letting us stay the night. Look for the next because I said I would project soon…