When disaster turns out the lights anywhere in 78 Texas counties, the Chisholm Trail Chapter of the American Red Cross in Fort Worth is there to help. The chapter handles more than 500 disaster events annually, ranging from fires to floods to hurricanes. But one of the organization's main warehouses had such inadequate lighting that during Hurricane Ike, volunteers had to point their own vehicle lights inside the warehouse and use flashlights to find supplies and load them onto trucks. The chapter was forced to shut down the warehouse after dark.

Now, with hurricane season approaching again, the chapter turned to Summit Electric Supply for a donation of lighting fixtures and lamps. The distributor has a branch just minutes from the warehouse. Disaster volunteer LeaAnn Layne sent a heartfelt message to company President and CEO Victor R. Jury Jr., a long-time supporter of the American Red Cross.

“Unfortunately, disasters do not wait for daylight and good weather,” wrote Layne in a letter to Jury. “Therefore, we need lighting in the warehouse to be able to fulfill our mission, to serve the people of our community who find themselves caught up in disasters.”

Jury directed Summit's Fort Worth service center to help. The service center donated about a dozen fixtures and lamps for installation both inside and outside the warehouse. The Independent Electrical Contractors Association, of which Summit is a member, provided the labor to install the lighting.

“The Red Cross appreciates our community partners helping through their gifts of supplies, equipment, money and time,” said Patricia Thomson, CEO of the Chisholm Trail Chapter. “When a company like Summit provides for basic chapter needs, it allows us to get assistance to the people who need it faster and more efficiently.”

The chapter's emergency response warehouse stores thousands of cots, pallets of water and clean-up kits for houses that have been flooded. A section is dedicated to items for short-term needs like diapers, shoes, clothing and blankets — even teddy bears to comfort displaced children.

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