by Doug Curtis
Dometic Marine employees lended some support for people in New Jersey who are still suffering from the effects of Hurricane Sandy by donating their own warm coats, sweaters and blankets.
Dometic Marine Engineering Laboratory Manager Angie Canon and her mother Joan Kleczka with the four giant boxes of coats and blankets ready to ship to New Jersey.
The coat drive was organised by Dometic Marine Engineering Laboratory Manager Angie Canon and sparked a huge response from staff wanting to help residents in the northern part of the US hit first by October’s historic storm and now by bitterly cold winter weather.
The generous donations, targeting people in the East Coast area who lost everything in the hurricane, filled four large boxes, totaling over 120 cubic feet of parkas, coats, sweaters and blankets.
'The people of Dometic always seem to reach deep for a good cause and this is one,' said Canon. 'They are very excited about receiving these gifts of compassion up in New Jersey.
'It's very cold up there on top of everything else so this is a sacrifice that will help someone at a real time of crisis.'
Canon posted signs around Dometic Marine’s Florida-based office and factory requesting donations following an idea from her 80-year-old mother Joan Kleczka.
She located an Elks Club in Trenton, NJ, which was willing to receive and distribute the donated coats.
'They were ecstatic to get the call,' said Kleczka. 'It doesn’t take much to get things started. American people are the most giving people in the world. Since a lot of people here in Florida don’t own warm coats, many donated blankets instead.'
She also went from house to house in her neighborhood asking for donations and meeting neighbors she never knew before.
Canon handled the collection and packaging of the donations received and Dometic Marine paid the shipping costs.
Dometic Marine has also made a cash donation to help raise $50,000 for the Hurricane Sandy Fund, sponsored by Kellogg Marine.
Money raised was matched by the following BBG groups (up to $10,000 each): Brunswick Boat Group (16 boat companies), Brunswick Corporate (bowling and fitness, boating), Mercury Marine and Kellogg / Land N Sea.
A check for $2,500 was also sent to local food bank Care and Share in Niantic, Ct.
The $50,000 raised will go strictly to boat dealers, marinas and boat yards and will be donated to the New Jersey Marine Trades Association and the Hudson Valley Marine Trades Association, which are the only two legitimate non-profit groups supporting just the marine industry.
Vice President of New Business Development at Kellogg Marine Bob Staehle said: 'Every year before Thanksgiving I raise $6-8K for local food banks, so I’m used to raising money.
'I’ve been in the marine industry for 45 years, and this year, with Hurricane Sandy doing so much damage to boats and marinas so close to home, with customers I’ve known for years getting wiped out, I felt it was the right thing to do this year to raise funds for them.
'So I started a hurricane relief fund to help the marine industry and went to Brunswick to see if they’d contribute matching funds. When Brunswick Boat Group, Brunswick Corporate, Mercury Marine, and Kellogg Marine all agreed to match funds, I was especially proud to be associated with them.'
Finally, Dometic Marine is completing its efforts for the worthy cause by supporting Hurricane Sandy victims with rebates for boat owners.
Dometic’s dealer network is offering special deals to owners of hurricane-damaged boats on replacement HVAC systems and toilet systems.
Details about these rebates will appear at several Northeast boat shows to let affected boat owners know about the program.