Everett Armand knew it was time to evacuate his Laplace home when the flood waters reached his waist. He quickly gathered his wife, elderly mother-in-law and the eight-month-old baby the couple is caring for into a motor home.
“If it wasn’t for having a motor home, we wouldn’t have gotten out. I had to drive it through the water like it was a boat,” described Armand, a longtime SEIU 21 LA union member. “I didn’t see it coming. I didn’t have a chance to do anything. I had just woken up and it was time go.”
The Armands drove to New Iberia and spent three days in a hotel incurring lodging, food, gas and expenses for even basic needs like clothes and toiletries.
Tens of thousands of people throughout Louisiana and the Gulf Coast have been impacted by Hurricane Isaac. SEIU Local 21 LA has established the SEIU Local 21 LA Disaster Relief Fund to help Armand and other members who have lost so much during this trying ordeal.
“I didn’t have time to grab anything. My wife grabbed a few shirts and her work clothes and put it in a little bag, but everything else went under water,” said Armand, a Jefferson Parish Public School owner-operator bus driver.
Armand lost two vehicles and his home is a total loss. Luckily, his bus was parked at another location and wasn’t damaged. He’s currently gutting his home (removing the sheetrock to prevent molding and additional problems) and trying to do as much of the work himself because he has no confidence the insurance company will adequately settle his claim.
Armand and his family are living in his motor home parked in the driveway of their Laplace house.
“I got my hands full, but I can handle it. It’s bad. It’s really bad. I still have water in the house. That will just have to dry,” Armand said. “The only thing I’m looking for is for people to keep praying for me.”
The criteria for the distribution of SEIU Local 21 LA Disaster Relief Funds:
- Eligible only to dues-paying members: (members defined as those who were paying dues to the Service Employees International Union Local as of August 31st, 2012)
- Have been affected by one of the following
- Are among those who were displaced from their homes due to a natural disaster resulting in a “State of Emergency” being declared by the Governor of the state in which they reside;
- Suffered loss of pay or property as a result of a natural disaster;
- Suffered from lack of medical attention for yourself or dependants as a result of a natural disaster or it’s effects;
Members may qualify for up financial assistance in an amount to be determined by the amount of loss and the availability of funds to members meeting at least one of the criteria above. Funds will be distributed on a first come first serve basis. If funds are available and there are still significant needs we may at a later date decide to make an additional contribution.
To apply for the SEIU 21 LA Disaster Relief Fund, please call (504) 483-2125.
Harold Sterling of SEIU Local 21 LA assists in the clean up of 21 LA member Everett Armand’s Laplace home.