December 08, 2005
AFIRM Board of Directors Chairman Mark Vinsel said the group has been encouraging the donation for several weeks, and is prepared to help get the machinery dismantled, shipped and reassembled in its new home. Vinsel commented, "There are thousands of fishing boats stranded ashore in the hurricane affected areas. The City of Valdez has stepped up to the plate in offering this essential equipment to help get boats back in the water. AFIRM is committed to ensuring this donation helps fishermen get back to fishing, and we want to thank the city assembly and the citizens of Valdez and reassure them that their city will not incur any costs in getting this essential equipment down to Louisiana,"
AFIRM credits Valdez Port Director Alan Sorum and Albert "Rusty" Gaude of Louisiana Sea Grant with the initial idea of the travel lift donation. The Alaska industry organization has raised funds through a Fish Aid benefit held earlier this fall in Juneau, a newly launched website, and other ongoing efforts.
Senator Lisa A. Murkowski said, "This will be a huge help when it reaches the Gulf. The devastation that has occurred in that area will not be erased any time soon, but one of the first and critical steps is to ensure that the fishing industry, which is a key economic feature for many Gulf Coast communities, gets back to work as soon as possible. Murkowski serves as the honorary chairman of AFIRM's industry advisors, and helped create AFIRM by bringing together fishermen's organizations, Alaska processors, transportation companies and other fishing related interests immediately after Hurricane Katrina.
Another AFIRM advisor, Pete Gerica of the Lake Pontchartrain Fishermen's Association and Vice Chair of Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board said, "We need to get fishing boats that were washed ashore back to the water without damaging them more in the process. This equipment will make a big difference and we thank AFIRM and Valdez and all of Alaska for any help they can bring."
AFIRM is a 501(c)(3) tax exempt charity. All donations are fully tax deductible. To learn more or to make a donation go to www.akgulfrelief.org.
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