They are pictures we’ve seen many times before but never cease to sadden us. Photos of destroyed homes and businesses, people digging through rubble to salvage what they can, destruction stretching across the United States. The storms and tornadoes that ravaged the southern U.S. states this week took more than 300 lives. While touring Alabama to see the devastation firsthand, President Obama called it “heartbreaking.”
Six states were affected by some 160 tornadoes. News outlets are calling it the worst U.S. natural disaster since Hurricane Katrina in 2005, which killed 1,800 people. The swath of destruction comes on top of several other storms and mini tornadoes that ruined homes and business in the same regions just 10 days ago.
Also, as we’ve seen many times before, self-storage operators are offering their services and support to those in need in these communities. This week, U-Haul announced two of its locations are offering free storage to people affected in St. Louis, Mo., Paducah, Ky., and in Memphis. I’m sure many more will follow, just as they have in the past.
In fact, there’s no shortage of self-storage operators across the country—and worldwide, really—that step up when their communities need them most. Every week, ISS posts several news items about operators who have collected money, donated items, or supported a school or another local charity.
While we all know doing these things is good PR, I truly believe these operators see it as more than just another marketing strategy. In fact, the Self-Storage Talk community, which has more than 4,000 self-storage managers, owners and other industry professionals, always express their concern when devastation strikes. We saw it a year ago after the Haiti earthquake, during the California wildfires, and this week after the tornadoes.
In a thread titled Tornadoes Spring 2011, Gina6K kicked off the sentiments with a post that included this line, “I hope all of our SST members survived unscathed as well. Our hearts and prayers are with everyone in the destruction zones.” The post was followed by several other well-wishers.