When Hurricane Katrina made landfall along the Gulf Coast last year, millions of lives were changed. To this day, people in Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana are in the process of trying to get their lives turned back around.
When tragedy strikes, there are individuals that step to the forefront and provide for others, in a selfless manner, to those who are in need. Phil Linsday, a custom home builder from Ashland, OR, and Richard Scott, a former equipment inspector from California are shining examples of this type of individual.
After the hurricane struck, both men, along with a large contingent of volunteers, armed with engineering expertise and a solid work ethic, headed to the Gulf Coast.
Six of the Linsday children joined the group from Ashland, as the family decided that they could not simply watch events unfold on television.
“My personal mission in life has always been to pay it forward,” Linsday said.
The group has set up camp in the parking lot of the Van Duc Buddhist Temple, in East Biloxi, MS, where they have been providing food, clothing and other provisions to the area residents. In addition to the provisions, the team brought a crane and tractor to assist in debris removal.
Doosan Infracore America Corporation has supported the group’s cleanup efforts. An S140LCV and M160 TC were delivered to the group in order to assist with the cleanup efforts for a period of several months.
“Our goal in assisting in the Gulf Region was twofold. First, we wanted to find an organization or group of people that were providing needed assistance to people in the area, out of a sense of compassion. Secondly, it was critical to make sure that there were qualified equipment operators in the group. In short, we were looking for a group that is helping for all of the right reasons and has experience in operating heavy equipment,” said Jeff Wolfe, marketing manager for the Doosan Infracore America Corporation Heavy Construction Equipment Division.
The assistance to Linsday and his group is the result of many organizations coming together to assist. Geith Inc. loaned a 36-in. bucket and thumb to the effort. Geith President Brendan English said, “We’re very happy to provide a small bit of assistance in this situation.”
Keen Transport worked around the clock to install the bucket and thumb to the S140LCV and get the machine down to Biloxi in quick fashion.
Coastal Machinery, Doosan Infracore’s authorized dealer in Pensacola, FL, shipped the M160 TC to Biloxi and will check in on the group periodically and provide parts and service support for both machines. Joe Meeks, owner principal of Coastal Machinery said, “We’re very happy that Doosan Infracore is providing assistance in Biloxi and are more than happy to assist as needed.”
The first task for Linsday and his group was to clear heavy debris that was located on the foundation of the VFW Center. Once they cleared the debris, the area quickly came to life as a central point for church groups and coordinated cleanup efforts.
Scott reported that the machines were used to remove heavy slabs of concrete from an ice plant and boat refueling station, located directly on the gulf and used for fueling shrimp boats. Now that the debris is removed, the more than 1,000 people living on their boats can refuel, bringing commerce to life once again.
As the machines cleared debris from each of the FEMA trailer lots, Linsday and Scott took great care to ensure the residents had additional time to sift through the wreckage to find personal items.
“It has been truly inspiring to witness the determination and faith of the people of Biloxi, as they begin to move forward,” Linsday said.