On December 26, 2022, senior residents living in B’nai B’rith Apartments in Reading began their day with a power outage. Residents were advised to bundle up due to the extremely cold weather; however, after 10 hours with no heat or electricity, help was needed to transport them to a warm shelter.
Mr. Eric Clemmer, Berks County Intermediate Unit (BCIU) Program Administrator for Operations, was contacted by the Berks County Deparment of Emergency Services asking for assistance from BCIU Transportation. In a coordinated communication effort,
Mr. John Coakley, BCIU Program Administrator for Transportation, sent a group text to drivers and bus / van specialists and immediately received responses from several individuals willing to help.
Mr. Coakley praised the drivers, stating, “Drivers arrived to get their buses ready and behind the wheel within the hour and were onsite to help the residents as soon as they possibly could. I was impressed with the quick response!”
Reading firefighters were able to move the residents from their apartments into the buses, and BCIU Transportation drivers safely transported the individuals to an emergency shelter set up by the American Red Cross at Southwest Middle School.
The dedicated BCIU drivers who helped in these efforts were:
• Ms. Margaret Gitler, Bus / Van Specialist
• Ms. Yolanda Moultrey-Whyte, Bus / Van Specialist
• Ms. Catharine Mullin, Bus / Van Specialist
• Ms. Luz Ruiz, CDL Driver
• Mr. Eliezer Velazquez, CDL Driver
The drivers also assisted in providing transportation for the residents to return to their building the following day.
Mr. Brian Gottschall, Director of Emergency Services, County of Berks, commended the BCIU for their efforts, “I am losing count of the number of times, especially over the last couple of years, where I have acknowledged the BCIU as a key community partner. Their partnership aids our ability to serve the community and, without their support, we could not be successful.”
Thank you to the BCIU Transportation Staff for offering a helping hand to the Berks County community in a time of need!