WATERLOO — A Waterloo company which handles electrical transformers is supporting not only Texas-area utility companies in Hurricane Harvey relief efforts, but sending truckloads of water, nonperishable food, diapers and other relief items.
A-Line EDS of Waterloo is inviting the general public to join in that relief effort and drop of supplies at their headquarters at 808 Dearborn Ave., off Dubuque Road in Waterloo, or by calling 232-3889.
A-Line has a connection to areas affected by the hurricane. It has an operation, A-Line TDS in Tonkawa, Okla., that provides transformer services for utilities from New Orleans to Houston, just as A-Line EDS in Waterloo services the upper Midwest.
In addition to helping utilities in the area affected by Harvey, A-Line EDS staff were told of serious shortages of bottled drinking water in the hurricane-ravaged areas, said Ben Stroh, who co-owns A-Line EDS with his brothers Brad and Pete.
Consequently, A-Line EDS purchased more than 280 cases of bottled water, along with multiple boxes of diapers that will be hauled to Houston and be delivered to the service centers of the Texas-area utility Entergy. Those service centers act as distribution points for supplies to the victims of Hurricane Harvey.
“In Oklahoma, we service Little Rock, New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Galveston, Port Arthur, Beaumont,” Stroh said. “Especially Beaumont. Beaumont got hammered” by the hurricane. “They got 50 inches of rain.” A-Line helps utilities with storm-damaged transformer replacement and repair.
“It definitely creates business for us. But it’s chaos,” Stroh said, prompting his company to take on additional staff and equipment. “This is the calm before the storm for us. It’s a disaster area, and we’re a utility service group. It’s not how you want to be super busy. Even when we got our flood here, it’s nothing like that. We don’t get the wind damage, you don’t get the other stuff.”
Stroh said it also was clear personal relief supplies are needed from the stories heard from utility workers — “being stranded there on a cot at work for four or five days, bathing with bottled water,” he said.
“The water’s been getting sucked out of the Walmarts and stuff for a long ways” outside the hurricane zone, Stroh said. “We’re going down to Oklahoma no matter what, and those trailers are going to go (from Tonkawa) into this flood zone, so we might as well take advantage of that.” A-Line is getting the water and other supplies to Texas-area utility companies which will in turn get it to service agencies for distribution.
“We are fortunate enough to be able to haul it — we’re going that way — and I thought others might want to contribute as well,” Stroh said. “It’s medical supplies, nonperishable food, diapers, water, toiletries, whatever. We’ll box it up and take it down there. If somebody feels like they want to drop some stuff off. We’ll be happy to take it and deliver it down there.”
Stroh said A-Line EDS will send trucks there over the next two to three weeks. He noted some employees of Peterson Contractors Inc. in Reinbeck are assisting in the effort, and equipment aiding in the relief effort was acquired from Warren Transport Inc. in Waterloo.