After devastating floods hit South Carolina, McKesson employees around the Southeast provided help.
Historic flash floods in October 2015 destroyed homes across South Carolina.
Hurricane Joaquin brought continuous heavy rains to the Southeast, with the worst effects concentrated in South Carolina. The storms set records all over the state, flooding entire towns.
Several rivers burst their banks on October 4, washing away roads, bridges, vehicles and homes. Hundreds of people required rescue, and 19 people died.
During the worst of the flooding, the Medical University of South Carolina took in infants from other hospitals that were unable to provide necessary care.
“We got a call on October 5 that they needed an emergency order of respiratory meds to care for these fragile lives,” says Denise Schubert, director of operations, U.S. Pharmaceutical’s Atlanta distribution center (DC). “We quickly picked the product and secured a driver to deliver the package.”
Knowing that some roads would be closed by authorities, she adds, “We worked with Mark Kelly, senior director, Logistic Security Operations, to provide the driver with a letter to help get him access to the hospital.”
She adds, “While the driver was on the road, we were in contact with South Carolina Emergency Management to secure the best travel route to make this delivery. Emergency Management was able to provide us with turn-by-turn directions to get the driver to the hospital without running into any road closures.”
The delivery ended up taking eight hours. “It was normally a five- to six-hour drive, but road closures and having to reroute to safer roads added a couple of hours to the trip,” Denise explains.
“It feels good to know that we helped to save lives at this crucial time,” she says.
Taking Care of Customers
McKesson Medical-Surgical also worked hard to get deliveries to its customers in the immediate aftermath of the flooding. Brad Pittman, Charlotte distribution center leader, says his DC, located in Rock Hill, South Carolina, worked with Med-Surg Corporate leadership teams. “We developed an emergency plan to do all we could to safely get as many orders delivered to customers as possible. We coordinated efforts between the Atlanta and Charlotte DCs to make deliveries to impacted areas.”
He adds, “Charlotte delivery professionals even worked with local law enforcement to drive around barriers to make deliveries. Many hours were spent working through all of these logistics. It took the team a week and a half to return to normal operations.”
Hot Meals and Aerial Photos
Michael LeBron, senior architect, Enterprise Information Solutions, lives in Columbia, on the northeast side of town. He says, “We live on a hill, so we were much more fortunate than others.” He and his family brought hot meals to some of the National Guard troops stationed at a nearby fire station.
“I used to be in the National Guard, and I remembered how good it was to get a fresh, hot meal when we were deployed.”
His hobby also came in handy. As an amateur videographer, he flies a quadcopter with an HD camera. “The Richland County assessor’s office saw some of my videos on Facebook and contacted me for help. I was able to assist with collecting images of damaged homes on Lake Forest [the lake that was all over the TV when the dams broke and is now a mud flat] that were inaccessible due to road closures.”
At the Atlanta distribution center, Denise also initiated donations of bleach, hand sanitizer, soap and cleaning supplies for a food bank in South Carolina.
She says, “All of the products donated actually came from the inventory in Birmingham, Alabama, with the help of Tim Bindert, DC inventory manager. It was delivered directly to the food bank. We also had help from our corporate inventory manager to identify the products that could be donated.”
Tracy Russell, director, State Government Affairs, Northeast Region, Corporate Public Affairs, who lived in South Carolina and was in contact with local emergency management teams, says, “At times like these, I feel proud to work for a company that can make such a big difference in times of disaster. These are the days when our work is more than a job — it’s more about caring for others and doing the right thing in a time of need.”