Feature Stories

Astellas Employees Help with Harvey Relief

Sep 14, 2017

‚ÄčIn the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, three Astellas employees from Houston and neighboring Lafayette, Louisiana, came to the aid of those affected by the storm.

Traveling to Help Texas Neighbors

After seeing the devastation created by Hurricane Harvey, Brad Stebbins, a senior professional representative II with PCP/specialty in Lafayette, Louisiana, used his five paid-volunteer days to drive to Dickinson, Texas. Dickinson was one of the areas hit hardest by the storm.

As a boat owner and a member of the Cajun Navy, a grassroots organization dedicated to helping with storm preparations, rescues and food distribution, Brad posted on the organization's Facebook page that he was going to Houston to help.

"After posting, I immediately started to receive an outpouring of responses from the community offering to help," said Brad.

After recruiting a friend, Brad organized a donation collection at a local gas station. Local restaurants and businesses donated food, water, rain ponchos and gas. Nine gallons of Seafoam—a product to protect car and truck engines when traveling through high floodwaters – also was donated.

Launching their boat from an Interstate ramp and working closely with local police and fire fighters, Brad and his friend went door-to-door yelling and blowing a whistle to locate those stranded on the roofs of their homes.

"We rescued some and handed out bottled water to others who chose to stay with their homes," said Brad. "When we felt that everyone was out who wanted to be out—we went onto the next neighborhood."

Over the course of two-and-half days, Brad and his friend rescued a family of seven along with their pets, including two German shepherds and two parakeets. They also rescued a family with an infant, a 70-year-old man stranded in his truck and two men who were struggling in shoulder-deep water.  

"We saw neighbors helping neighbors, people opening up their homes and others handing out water," said Brad. "The outpouring of support from the community was overwhelming."

Doing Whatever it Takes to Help their Community

When Stephen Skinner, a senior regional sales manager in Hospital and Transplant, from Rockport, Texas, and boat owner, saw the floodwaters raising, he knew that he could use his boat to help others. When Stephen arrived to one of the areas of Houston hit the hardest, he found a long line of boats ready to help with the rescue.

"While I didn't put my boat into the water, I was able to jump on another boat to help with the rescue mission," said Stephen.

Stephen along with his Astellas colleague, Kevin O'Keefe, a senior director, in Hospital and Transplant, helped load and unload stranded people from the boats.

Living SMART™ is the Astellas approach to preparing communities today for what can happen tomorrow. The Living SMART framework brings together the strength of the charitable Astellas USA Foundation and our Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) work to find the areas where we can make the most impact to improve lives. Astellas USA Foundation and Astellas CSR collaborate to create a positive impact on society through three overarching focus areas: health and well-being; Science WoRx (STEM education); and disaster response. To read more about Living SMART, see the Astellas Americas Corporate Social Responsibility Report Card.

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