Basalt man reaches out to Oklahoma victims
The Aspen Times
Basalt resident Jeff Posey can’t sit by idly while victims of last week’s Oklahoma tornadoes try to reassemble their lives.
On Tuesday, Posey will head to Moore, Okla., where he once lived for four years, to begin relief efforts for a region wiped out by Monday’s deadly twister.
He plans to bring crew members from his company, Skyline Roofing USA, to help the effort. They’ll have trucks loaded with critical items for the tornado victims.
“The next 30 days are so important,” Posey said. “They have nothing. No stores are open. No drive-throughs are open. The power is off. The gas is off. These people have lost everything.”
To that end, Posey is organizing a fund drive that he’s calling Aspen for Oklahoma Relief. His ties to Moore include a friendship with Robert Crain, Moore’s fire marshal.
“It looks like a landfill here,” Crain said Friday. “It’s hard to describe. When a bomb goes off, it has an impact that you see everything slanted to one direction. But with this, everything is twisted up. There’s no rhyme or reason why things look the way they do.”
Hospitals, schools and homes have been destroyed, and 24 lives have been claimed.
The Red Cross is the go-to charity during natural disasters like the one in Oklahoma, but Crain said there are immediate needs that the nonprofit can’t fulfill immediately. That’s where Posey’s efforts come in.
“The Red Cross has done an incredible job, but the people on the outskirts almost starved to death because Red Cross could not get to the outskirts,” Posey said.
Posey was busy Friday establishing an account called Moore Firefighters Santa Express/Aspen Relief. He hopes to have one set up at a local bank by this week. In the meantime, potential contributors can call him at 706-853-0305 to get information on how to donate.
Posey is asking local residents to give to Moore Firefighters Santa Express/Aspen Relief, an offshoot of the Santa Express, which was created more than 30 years ago by Moore’s fire department to provide gifts to children during the holidays, Crain said.
“With this happening, (the fund) has a lot more need,” Crain said. “And Jeff called to see how he (and his company) could help.”
Said Posey: “The mission for the Aspen for Oklahoma Relief effort is to fill the gaps that the big noprofits cannot and to be directly involved.”
That will involve going from residence to residence giving out diapers, duct tape, towels and clothes, among other items, Posey said.
The Rev. Jonathan Brice, of Aspen’s Christ Episcopal Church, which Posey attends, said Posey approached him to encourage congregation members to help.
“To stand where one of your rooms used to be in your house and not be able to get what you need, what we’re trying to do is get victims what they need now,” Brice said.
This isn’t Posey’s first relief effort. He worked with Dan Aykroyd in 2005 to help provide relief for the victims of Hurricane Katrina, which ravaged the Gulf Coast region.
Posey is the founder of Skyline Roofing USA, and in 2011, he started the nonprofit RoofScamHelp.com, which installs roofs for victims of roofing scams. He said tragedies like the one in Oklahoma put things in perspective.
“Aspen doesn’t deal with this type of tragedy,” Posey said. “We don’t deal with hurricanes or tornadoes, and if you’ve never been through one of these disasters, it’s like standing in the desert naked with nothing and not knowing what direction to take to find help.”
Tenants at the city’s oldest deed-restricted housing complex, Centennial Apartments, faced rent hikes as high as 30% in January that sent city, county, and APCHA officials into closed-door meetings with the relatively new landlord, Birge & Held.