It's Labor Day weekend, and these people put together an effort from 1,000 miles away and got inside the city of NEW ORLEANS in 24 hours, while our federal government - the world's most powerful and wealthy nation - seemed paralyzed for 5 days. Are you KIDDING me ???
Last updated: 5:44 PM September 4, 2005
by Steve Kastner
Door County Compass
STURGEON BAY, WI - Early on Friday morning Christie Weber watched the Mayor of New Orleans screaming on CNN, "We need buses to get these people out of here. Get off your ass and get down here."
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"I called 4 bus lines," says Weber. "Kobussen Buses was the only line that said he would ask his drivers if they could deal with all that - after they got back. They all said 'Lets go' if we can get a route." Weber explains, "Even the owner's Dad and uncle volunteered to return to service to help drive the buses."
Next she decided to call the Governor's office in Louisiana instead of FEMA. They responded immediately with, "Please, God Bless You, YES!" and provided her with a route and a letter to Wisconsin Emergency Management requesting their assistance in staffing the buses with law enforcement officers. The State of Wisconsin responded requiring that each bus have bathroom facilities, 2 law officers and one medical assistant on board before they would approve of the mission.
Weber put a call out to local Door County law enforcement with no luck due to the demands of a busy Labor Day weekend. She started contacting other nearby communities and the results were amazing. Within an hour she had enough volunteers to staff 4 buses from the Fox Valley - each with two law officers and a medic on the finest coaches Kobussen had. All of this was accomplished in less than 24 hours, from the first phone call to the buses loading and leaving on Saturday morning, carrying a flat of drinking water donated by the local Wal-Mart and a collection of medical supplies and other contributions.
At 8:30 AM today the 4 charter busses that left Green Bay on Saturday morning were passing through Hammond, Louisiana - about 50 miles away from New Orleans.
"We had to make a choice of whether to go to Houston, to the Astrodome or to send the buses directly to New Orleans," says Weber. "There was no way to contact anyone at the Astrodome and when we finally reached the Governor's office in Louisiana they said 'Send them here,' so we did."
At noon on Sunday the four Wisconsin buses were dispatched to the New Orleans Superdome to pick up their passengers. The first two buses will bring approximately 80 NOLA refugees to Sturgeon Bay where they will be initially housed at Hope United Church of Christ and at the United Methodist Church. The two remaining buses will split, taking an additional 80 passengers to Madison and Milwaukee. . . . < snip >
NEW UPDATE: < snip > The letter that we asked the Louisiana Governor's office to write for Wisconsin was used as a draft and they immediately sent it to all of the other states. Many of them responded, and hundreds of empty buses started to arrive at the same time in New Orleans." < snip > < updated > LINK WITH NEW DETAILS ADDED TO STORY