This story is also being printed in the Jan/Feb 2019 Portal Magazine.
From October 21 through November 2, Typhoon Yutu cut a deadly swath in the Pacific Ocean. The extremely powerful tropical cyclone caused catastrophic damage to the islands of Tinian and Saipan in the Northern Mariana Islands, as well as the Philippines. The storm left 23 dead in its wake.
Days later, on November 7, as the region was assessing the wreckage, IAM member Cargo Express (Saipan), Inc., received an email from IAM Vice President Brian Limperopulos. "He wanted to check on us," recalls Alvin Lorenzo of Cargo Express, "and to ask IAM members in Saipan to assist ALAN [American Logistics Aid Network] with their humanitarian relief efforts in Saipan. We responded right away, informing him that we were safe. We also told him that we could not only assist with transporting the supplies but prioritize it."
Lorenzo was connected with ALAN Executive Director Kathy Fulton, who advised that her group needed help moving 18 pallets from Saipan International Airport to Commonwealth Healthcare Corporation, an acute care hospital on Saipan. After exchanging a few emails with Fulton, Lorenzo was introduced to Paulina Zajac, senior associate at Americares, who was then on the island to coordinate the relief operations.
"The freight arrived earlier than anticipated," says Lorenzo, "and considering the state of the airline cargo warehouse-it had no roof-we scheduled the delivery right away. We didn't want the supplies to get wet. So on November 10 we completed the delivery using our three trucks, and moving the 18 pallets took only half a day."