Book provides $100,000 for those affected by devastation
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but The Telegram and Creative Book Publishing’s collection of photos showing the toll hurricane Igor took on this province in September is worth thousands of dollars — $100,000, to be exact.
On Saturday, The Telegram and Creative Books, with parent company Transcontinental Media, launched “Hurricane Igor: In the Eye of the Storm” with an event at Chapters bookstore in St. John’s, and presented the Salvation Army with a cheque for $100,000 for its Hurricane Igor Assistance Fund from the proceeds of the sale of the book.
The cheque is the single biggest donation the fund has received thus far, said Salvation Army representative Maj. Wade Budgell.
“Our focus is to place this money back into the hands of people who are in dire need, where government programs or personal home insurance doesn’t cover damage. In the case of any other losses, we’d like to hear from people.”
Hurricane Igor hit the eastern portion of Newfoundland Sept. 21, causing major power failures, road washouts and flooding. The next day, the province was left with about $165 million in damages.
Home insurance, while it often covers damage due to flooding, doesn’t generally cover wind damage, Budgell said. Things like sheds, tools, toys, electronics and furniture could be among the things the assistance fund might cover.
“Any time we get this kind of money, we always look at what we can do with it,” said Aubrey Vincent, the Salvation Army’s Emergency Disaster Services team co-ordinator, adding the team has been getting many calls from seniors. “Early on, it’s not clear what the needs are, but there are needs out there, no question about it.
“The key message we want to give is that we are here now, and we are able to process quickly — usually within a week.”
“Hurricane Igor” is a collection of more than 100 photos gathered by The Telegram and six other Transcontinental community newspapers across the island, The Charter, The Compass, The Southern Gazette, The Packet, The Beacon and The Pilot — as well as readers, who submitted their own pictures — during the height of the storm, as well as the aftermath. A section of the book is also dedicated to the rebuilding efforts, on the part of community residents, the military and government workers.
Once the dust from the storm settled, both literally and figuratively, it was clear something had to be done to document the event, said Telegram managing editor Kerry Hann.
“All of a sudden it hit us: so what do you do with 6,000 images? What is the best way to repurpose this material to aid in the chronicling of this colossal event in Newfoundland and Labrador’s history? You publish a book; a book that will not only educate and capture this infamous event in time, but act as a venue to raise funds for the victims of the storm,” Hann said. “On behalf of all the editorial employees and readers that played a key role in our hurricane coverage, I can honestly say I am so proud of what we have put together here today.”
Representatives from the military and the provincial government were on hand at the book launch Saturday. Works, Services and Transportation Minister Tom Hedderson told of his first views of the havoc wreaked by hurricane Igor, when he took to the air in a helicopter with Premier Danny Williams to survey the damage.
It wasn’t until they got to Random Island, he said, they saw just how extensive the damage was.
“We saw absolute devastation,” he said. “It was a lot of scrambling to mobilize, but again, as always, in this province of Newfoundland and Labrador, when the times get tough and the tough get going, watch out.
“I would certainly encourage everyone to purchase the book and keep it as a reminder of what nature can do, and also, on the other side of the coin, what men and women can do in response to a catastrophe like this.”
Both Hedderson and Brig.-Gen. Tony Stack, the overall commander of the military response to hurricane Igor in this province, praised all members of the local media for their efforts in keeping the public informed in the wake of the storm.
Tony Arnold, regional manager of Indigo Books and Music, said the company is “proud to stand behind” the new book.
“Hurricane Igor” is dedicated to the memory of 80-year-old Allen Duffett of Random Island, who died when the driveway on which he was standing was washed away by the current. His body was found three days later. Duffett was the only casualty of the hurricane, and the book also includes a poem written by him and submitted by members of his family.
The book only hit the shelves at Chapters, Coles, Costco and Downhome a little less than two weeks ago. The $100,000 figure was calculated based on how sales are going up to this point, said Telegram publisher Charlie Stacey.
“We’re just thrilled to be able to use our resources to raise funds for such a worthwhile cause,” Stacey said. “That the number will reach as high as $100,000 is just outstanding.”