The St. Louis County Council presented Metro Transit Tuesday night with a resolution of gratitude for its assistance in helping tornado victims following the April 22 storm. The tornado affected businesses and homes and lives of residents in Bellefontaine Neighbors, Berkeley, Bridgeton, Dellwood, Ferguson, Maryland Heights, Moline Acres, Riverview, St. Ann, Kinloch, Edmundson, and areas of unincorporated St. Louis County.
The County Council resolution noted that a total of 90 Metro operators transported 2,635 tornado victims and volunteers a total of 5,838.44 miles and 772 service hours in the hours, days and weeks after the tornado. The night of the tornado, operators helped evacuate a nursing home; and in the days that followed, they shuttled tornado victims staying at emergency shelters back to their damaged homes to gather their possessions and important documents. Starting on April 30 and for two weeks, Metro provided Call-A-Ride vans to transport volunteers to damaged neighborhoods to help with the cleanup. The Agency also donated 1,000 tickets for tornado victims whose vehicles were buried under debris so they could get to where they needed to go.
Public transit primarily exists to serve as a transportation mode, but it also serves at the request of the emergency first-responders in times of community crisis. During Hurricane Katrina, Metro sent buses, operators and mechanics to help transport New Orleanians, assisting the disabled local system. Public transit is often called upon in bad weather and natural disasters to help evacuate people from unsafe areas or to give them a safe place to get warm or stay cool–depending on the weather. And for every bus or train out in these circumstances, there is an operator working hard to serve the community. During the ice storm in February, some operators, dispatchers and supervisors even slept in chairs and cots at garages to make sure they were able to get to work the next day.
Thank you to all the Metro employees, as well as other community members, who sacrifice their time and energy to take care of those in crisis in our region.