Company’s Fairfield buses travel south to help Hurricane Irma evacuees

Lakefront Lines sent five buses Thursday afternoon to the coastal areas of the country to aid in the evacuation of those impacted by Hurricane Irma.

The decision was made Wednesday evening and on Thursday, Lakefront Lines Cincinnati General Manager John Brock and his staff rearranged schedules in order to make it happen. Lakefront Lines is a subsidiary of CoachUSA.

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“There’s not a single one amongst us that’s going to change the world on their own, but if we all pull together and help each other we can change the world,” Brock said.

The staging area for the buses will be nearly 600 miles southeast in Orangeburg, South Carolina, nearly a 90-minute drive northwest of the coastal city of Charleston, South Carolina. They’ll stay overnight in a hotel and first thing Friday morning the drivers will transport folks escaping Hurricane Irma, which on Tuesday churned up 185 mph winds.

Lakefront Lines had to rearrange already set schedules to be able to send the five buses to help in evacuation efforts, but that wasn’t an issue, said Brock.

“The greatest challenge in an operation like this is to find the drivers,” he said. “Before I got the call, all the jobs were covered. We had all the buses we needed for the assignments, we had all the drivers we needed for the assignments. The biggest problem with an issue like this is to find drivers to man the buses because a lot of these guys are already committed to different pieces of work over the next week or so.”

Before leaving, the drivers loaded up a few dozen cases of water — roughly 1,600 bottles of water — from the Fairfield Twp. Walmart.

“When you’re going into a disaster situation like this, you can never have too much water,” Brock said.

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But Lakefront Lines isn’t the only local agency helping with the relief efforts.

Caring Partners International, in cooperation with the Franklin Police Department, local companies, churches and individuals, is loading a truck Friday morning at its warehouse in Franklin. The truck will be filled with hurricane relief supplies — linens, water, diapers, personal care products, said Rhonda Reed, executive director of Caring Partners.

This truck will leave no later than 9 a.m. Friday and will be driven by two of its mission staff, Andrew Wienhoff and Wesley Highley.

Reed said the truck will deliver supplies to two churches in metro Houston.

The goal, she said, is to “get the items in the hands of people on the front lines.”

She said people typically gather at churches in a time of need.

Staff Writer Rick McCrabb contributed to this story.

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