DES MOINES – After the devastation left behind from Hurricane Florence the people of North Carolina are looking for any aid they can get.
Some of that aid would come from an Iowa man who came up with an idea to help out as many people as he could just a few days before the storm hit.
Tony Gardner is a FedEx driver here in the metro and had been talking with family and friends about the possibility of delivering food, water and other supplies to those who needed it in North Carolina.
His idea would start to come to fruition three days after the storm had hit. Gardner gathered a crew and with help from multiple businesses throughout the metro, he was able to put together a food drive in a Hy-Vee parking lot.
Hy-Vee let Gardner use their parking lot, FedEx let him use their truck to load the supplies, Penske let him borrow a van to drive the supplies down and places such as Casey’s and Sam’s Club donated products for Gardner to take with him on his journey.
After gathering nearly 7,000 pounds of supplies, Gardner made his way up to New Bern, North Carolina when he received a tip from a friend that the town was not in good shape.
“As I was driving in, you expect to see the water, you know, above roofs and what not…but the one thing I will absolutely take from this is the smell,” Gardner said.
Once Gardner arrived he remember the hugs and the tears of joy that came from the citizens of New Bern. It was the reassurance that Gardner needed for him to know that he had made the right choice.
Gardner spent four days in North Carolina before arriving back in Des Moines on Tuesday. Gardner says he is always there to help communities when he can because he feels it’s the right thing to do.
“The best exercise for the heart is bending over and lending a hand to those in need,” Gardner said.
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