HERO Program
Coordinates "Katrina Kids" Campaign

Karl Robinson (far right) initiated the "Katrina Kids" campaign.

The HERO committee, a non-profit, volunteer organization comprised of Harris employees and retirees who coordinate distribution of much-needed supplies and equipment to local area schools, branched out this October to help a worthy cause. The "Katrina Kids" campaign came about as a response to an October 12, 2005 email from Karl Robinson, a HERO member who was at the time contributing to the Harris hurricane Katrina relief mission in Mississippi. "I have been here for almost a month, and I will be here until, at least, the end of the month. This is not a normal trip for Harris. There is a lot of suffering out here and Harris said, "We can help!" We are providing Communication Antennas for emergency personnel, as well as for some common folks. Everyone who was ensnared in this mess can be called common folks. This place was decimated (Harrison County, Mississippi) and they are all in the same boat. The accommodations have not been that good for the Harris employees, yet we have been living in luxury compared to the victims of this disaster," explained Karl.
Gloria Kimmel, Andy Cisar, Tim Allen, & Lorry Light take a break from packing the donations
With all of the hard work that was going on in Mississippi, Karl sent an SOS to the HERO committee. Karl continues, "At any rate, if there are any backpacks left over (from the HERO backpack drive), send them out! I know there are kids who really need them. I know HERO is a local effort, but there is a great need out here and I will make arrangement and get the items distributed."

This was a request that the HERO program could not ignore, especially from someone who was seeing the incredible need first hand. On a referral from Karl, the committee contacted Linda McKay, a librarian in Hancock, Mississippi, who was trying to coordinate a "Tent School" for the Katrina kids. The committee sprung into action by sending an email to all the coordinators asking for suggestions. After putting our heads together and as a HERO team, we donated surplus supplies, leftover school supplies from the backpack campaign, and six computers to be setup in a damaged library, said Lorry Light, coordinator lead for the committee.

Driver Jerry Mayo

The Harris retiree's association played a vital role as well by taking up a collection in order to purchase items. Nick Bahorich was designated to take on the task of buying items such as, crayons, pencils, erasers, rulers, paper, books, etc. to add to the donations.

With much generosity, ingenuity, and compassion, within twelve days the HERO committee had two truckloads on its' way to Hancock County, Mississippi.

In spite of hurricane Wilma putting a short delay in their endeavor, HERO coordinators, Harris retiree's Association and Harris employees who volunteered their time and effort for this campaign are all real HERO's and should be recognized for their efforts. Within twelve days, from the initial SOS, two truckloads of school supplies were on their way to Hancock County, Mississippi.

Additional pictures of the "Katrina Kids" campaign: