Commodore's Message - November 25, 2014
On September 14, 2014, Hurricane Odile clobbered the yachting community in the Sea of Cortez. Lives were lost, disaster was everywhere, both on water and on land. Many of our current, past and returning members felt a great loss. Lots of people wanted to offer their assistance, but many of them were too far away to help with the physical demands that were needed. So they offered to send money.
Because of this, a Go Fund Me donation account, was set up to help those in need. The statement made to the donors was “The sole purpose of this money is to aid cruisers who suffered from Hurricane Odile and to enhance Club Cruceros' emergency equipment. These funds are available to any one damaged in the storm, until they run out.” Funds were donated locally in cash as well as to the Go Fund me account. There was a total equivalent of US $23,610, some were dollars, some were pesos. These funds do not belong to Club Cruceros. They belong to the La Paz Cruisers and the individuals who donated them. Club Cruceros was merely asked to manage the funds for the donors.
We had no idea how hard the task would be to figure out how to distribute those funds to the people who needed them. An application form was made and sent out to all members and volunteers to apply for these funds. This was also posted on our web site and on our Facebook page. We were all quite surprised that by the deadline of November 10th there were only 9 applications submitted out of 547 current members.
Fees and tax obligations were the first moneys taken out. After that Volunteers were reimbursed for their expenses which included gas, diesel and a full service on the borrowed generator for the week after the storm. The board set aside funds to enhance emergency equipment which included the purchase of a Honda 2000 generator, and funds have been set aside to buy a 600 foot spool of Amsteel tow line, a second high quality emergency pump and extra hose for both pumps. Once those purchases have been made, those items will be available to anyone in the fleet for temporary emergency use. Marina La Paz has agreed to build an easily accessible storage box for the tow line next to the current pump location by their office. The board also chose to add $2000 to our emergency fund which was pretty much depleted. This left a balance of $14,000 to distribute among the 9 applicants who's losses totaled over $100,000. This was the hard part. We are a small community and as a board we made a concentrated effort to keep personalities and friendships out of the decision making process. We were very businesslike and just considered the facts that were provided on the applications. The greatest weight was given to the amount of loss a person sustained and if they are a live aboard with their boat as their only home. Additional considerations were given to whether the damage was cosmetic or add-on equipment vs. if the damage was essential to the function of the vessel. Not one applicant provided any receipts or written estimates for repairs or bills from local boatyards, so we had to determine if their monetary request was realistic. Weight was also given to those who stayed aboard or left someone in charge of their vessel and if they came down to rescue the damaged property.
As I said this was a very difficult decision making process. The board members deliberated for over four and a half hours. We did not take this decision making lightly. Each application was gone through several times making sure no details were missed. Everyone who applied received funds. Most of the funds have now been distributed and the dollar amounts by category and a list of the boats who received them, will be posted at the club house and on the web page for everyone to see. The board chose not to disclose the individual amounts given to each applicant. It is up to each individual to reveal that if they so desire.
We would especially like to thank the donors, many of whom are sitting in this room. Without their generosity we could not have put our community back together as quickly and as well as we have. We all owe our deepest gratitude to them. Thank you if you were a donor. Please know that we did our very best and that is all anyone can be asked of. As of Sunday pretty much all vessels that could be floated are now floating.
Congratulations to all of you on a job well done in your rescue efforts. I hope that after today, we all can begin our letting go process and move past the pain that Hurricane Odile put in our hearts. We will never forget our lost friends Guenter, Paul and Simone, but we will sail on in their memory.
Thank you everyone.
Shelly Rothery Ward