Article from the Boston Herald by
Emergency response is in the Brown brothers’ blood.
Both military men and firefighters, Bob Brown of Andover and his brother Shane of Stoneham are sending trucks from their family-owned oil company to the Carolinas filled with fuel ahead of Hurricane Florence.
Bob has seen firsthand the devastation left behind by hurricanes. He was serving in Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 7, stationed in Gulfport, Miss., when Hurricane Katrina made landfall in 2005.
“I saw how important fuel is in an emergency like that,” Bob said. “You don’t realize how important fuel is — having a steady flow of fuel to support and continue the rescue operation. … I’ve always been drawn to emergency response and providing for emergency situations like that.”
When the Browns heard about Hurricane Florence, they got eight of their trucks prepped for hauling, filled them with gas and diesel fuel and have four now en route to the Carolinas in coordination with FEMA. Another four are ready to go if they are called on.
Shane, a Cambridge firefighter, also serves as a U.S. Army Reserve firefighter, but helped his brother organize the initiative.
“When something like this comes up, when people need help and you can do it, it’s really a no-brainer,” Shane said. “At the end of the day we can hang up our hat and know we made a difference.”
Last year, they offered up their trucks for hurricanes Harvey and Irma as well.
The fuel trucks are staged around priority facilities, such as hospitals, and when the power goes out they keep those facilities up and running. They also travel with rescue response teams to fuel their vehicles as they move through disaster zones.
FEMA will reimburse operational costs, but the Browns foot the bill for expenses, food, lodging and fuel to and from the site.
“I didn’t even inquire about (reimbursements) last year, I just sent them down to help,” Bob said. “It’s not one of those situations where you say, ‘What’s covered, how much money is it for us to go down,’ the mentality should be, OK, whatever you need, we’ll provide.”