Minnesota recruiters donate water, time for Oklahoma tornado relief

23 May 2013 | Staff Sgt. Clinton Firstbrook

Five recruiters spent several hours volunteering at H2OK yesterday to help those affected by recent storms in Oklahoma.

The Marines heard about KDWB’s initiative during their morning commute. Roughly $200 later, they were back on the road with a van full of water and headed to the Rainbow Foods drop-off site.

“It was only 10 minutes from our office so we all chipped in,” said Sgt. Phillip Sze, 27, from St. Paul, Minn. “Something as basic as water is taken for granted by most people and having spent time in Afghanistan, I know what kind of relief it can bring.”   

Upon pulling up to the collection point, the Marines noticed they weren’t alone as a handful of 101.3 listeners were already waiting with cases of water in hand. Within a few minutes, H2OK volunteers were overwhelmed with donations.      

“We wouldn’t have been able to function if they weren’t there,” said KDWB Promotions Director and H2OK Coordinator Barb Neren. “Back at office we kept getting calls that they couldn’t keep up. Once the Marines arrived a car would pull up and they’d have it unloaded in 10 seconds.”

The Roseville, Minn., recruiters returned three hours later with a dozen more volunteers, many of them aspiring Marines who will ship off to boot camp later this year.

“We took it upon ourselves to help out as much as we could, because that’s what Marines do,” said Sgt. Patrick Herman, 28, from Pleasanton, Calif. “I even asked my wife to come out with us.”   

By the end of the 12-hour event, H2OK volunteers filled four semis with 5,240 cases for a total of 125,000 bottles of water.

“It was amazing to see them step up where we least expected them,” said KDWB DJ Wayne Danielson, also known as “Big D.” “It's easy to reach out to people, but we're only successful because of our community.”

KDWB DJs and drivers with 101 Transport Inc., transported the donations to Moore, Okla., Thursday morning.

“The whole experience was unbelievable,” Neren said. “Thank you to everyone who helped out. We couldn’t have done it without out.”

For additional imagery from the event, visit www.facebook.com/rstwincities.


9th Marine Corps District