Hilbert hurricane relief drive mushrooms quickly

September 7, 2017

By Ed Byrne The Brillion News

HILBERT – It began so simply.

Josh Diedrich’s sister lives in Austin, Texas, and his parents planned to go down for a visit –the trip had been scheduled for months.

They never expected to be heading to Texas in the days right after Hurricane Harvey and the massive flooding that resulted.

“It just happened to coincide with this tragedy,” Diedrich said. “They asked us kids if we wanted to donate things to take down. I just put something on Facebook, and the response was obviously overwhelming.”

On Monday, August 28, Diedrich decided to invite people to donate to the people hurting down in the Lone Star State.

“By Thursday, I had volunteers and hundreds of people messaging me on Facebook, people I never met. They showed up in way bigger hordes than I ever expected,” Diedrich said.

There were plans to fill up a small trailer offered by the Brillion Fire Department with donated clothing, hygiene items and drinking water. The trailer quickly became too small.

Diedrich and the other volunteers began looking for a semi-trailer.

Diedrich needed a place as a drop-off site, someplace everyone could find, with a nice big parking lot.

Officials Den, the bowling emporium on North Eighth Street (State 57/32) came to mind immediately and the owner said “yes.”

“He was more than willing to donate the place and [the use of] the tables,” Diedrich said.

Diedrich wanted to make sure that everything heading to Texas for hurricane relief was actually needed.

“We’re taking all clothes – infant to adult – and hygiene items, non-perishable foods, lots of cases of water,” Diedrich said.

He spoke with his sister, in Texas, and she said baby formula and baby bottles, duffel bags, and broken down boxes that can be used to distribute emergency supplies to families.

So much stuff was coming in at Officials Den that the core group of volunteers needed help.

They got it when the Hilbert-Stockbridge football team showed up.

Theo Polar and Landon Raddatz were among the players who showed up to pack and carry goods.

For every hour of community service they perform, the football players get an honors sticker for their game helmets.

Diedrich cooks at Ethel’s Pub and Grill.

In the end. volunteers loaded a semi-trailer with supplies for the hurricane victims in Texas and Louisiana. It was scheduled to leave Manitowoc for Texas after Labor Day.

“I just want to thank everybody. It’s for a great cause,” Diedrich said.

This story was featured in the September 7, 2017 edition of The Brillion News. 

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