HME providers rally around Sandy victims

'They had nothing but the clothes on their backs'
Friday, November 2, 2012

YARMOUTH, Maine – With the eastern seaboard reeling in the aftermath of Sandy, several HME providers have made concerted efforts to assist those devastated by the hurricane.

When William Korslin, CEO of Naperville, Ill.-based Centrad Healthcare, learned that one of his employees, Miguel Paredes, was among those adversely affected by the storm, his company undertook relief efforts.

Paredes, a distribution manager at the company’s Long Island facility, along with his family, lost their home and most of their belongings in the fire that consumed nearly 100 homes in the Breezy Point neighborhood in Queens.

When he heard the wrenching news, Korslin was relieved that the family survived, dismayed at what they’d lost, and astonished by Paredes’ resolve.

“They had nothing but the clothes on their back,” Korslin said. “And Miguel was at work the next day, in spite of the fact that his home burned down. He and his crew are just incredible.”

Michelle Korslin, vice president of sales and marketing at Centrad, launched a clothing drive for the family. The company also started a fundraising campaign on behalf of Paredes’ family, for which they’ve received $3,000 in donations. William Korslin said the company will match the amount raised.

“So many want to contribute—employees, vendors and consultants, everyone with whom we interact,” Korslin said. “The more the better. We want to send some funds over to them to get them back on their feet.”

MetroStar, a Brooklyn-based provider, undertook similar relief efforts. The company launched a seven-day disaster relief drive last week, opening its warehouse doors to facilitate a food, clothing and monetary donations drive.  Isaac Newman, COO of MetroStar, said in an email to HME News that the drive was an imperative for a business of his type.

“MetroStar is a healthcare company,” he wrote. “We spend our days caring for our patients and ensuring that they are safe and receiving everything that they need at home. Many of our employees’ families and friends were affected by the storm, some lost everything. We could not sit idle while so many are hurting and in need.”

The response, Newman said, has been “overwhelming.”

“We’ve been accepting items since Wednesday and word of our effort has spread dramatically,” he said. “We’ve gotten calls from as far as Massachusetts from people advising that they are on their way to MetroStar with vans.”