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Hurricane Katrina Relief Update

September 2, 2005     E-mail this page to a friend!

Dear Horsemen,

After consulting with Board members of the Louisiana HBPA earlier today, along with representatives from various industry organizations, here’s an update:

• What is most needed at this time will be lodging, food, water and donations to help get people back on their feet.  Any food banks or clothing drives would be appreciated.  Please coordinate any such effort with us if possible.
• The Louisiana HBPA has set up limited operations out of their Louisiana Downs (Shreveport) office.   As of now, this will become our staging area for bringing any supplies to the Louisiana HBPA for distribution.
• They are still trying to identify horsemen’s whereabouts and many, including LA HBPA President Sean Alfortish have lost their homes and businesses. 

Short-term actions we are now undertaking:

1 Fundraising / Donations:  We have agreed that fundraising will be much more effective if handled nationally and the NTRA has agreed to undertake fundraising.  Therefore we encourage everyone to make their donations to the NTRA Charities (see below). 

Any donations already made to the National HBPA Foundation will, of course, be used to aid our horsemen in need.  NTRA is also preparing a national fund-raising effort for October 8th with national TV exposure.  All funds will thereafter be distributed where needed in consultation with National HBPA, Louisiana HBPA, Churchill Downs, Inc. (Fair Grounds) and the various other related agencies such as horse rescue operations.        

Therefore, please make your donations payable to:  “NTRA Charities” c/o National HBPA, Inc. 4063 Iron Works Parkway / Bldg. B-2; Lexington, KY 40511.  Please be sure to note “Hurricane Katrina Relief” on the memo line.

2 Communications: The National HBPA is working with the NTRA and other industry groups in preparing a press release detailing our coordinated efforts and what steps the public can take to help.

3 Hot Line:  The National HBPA is currently arranging to have its 1-800 line manned 24 hours for horsemen to call for assistance.  Churchill Downs has established a similar hot line for their Fair Grounds employees.  The number will be released tomorrow as part of the press release (see above) once we have the lines up, going, tested and manned.  The purpose will be to capture information on missing horsemen and pass along that vital information on to the Louisiana HBPA staff.  We will also work on establishing a chat room linked to both the Louisiana HBPA and the National HBPA for victims to communicate with us.

4 Supplies / Clothes: We are presently working with vanning / trucking companies about donating empty trucks that we can fill with clothes, supplies, etc… which can then be shipped to Louisiana Downs and the Louisiana HBPA for distribution. 

5 Lodging: Anyone who is willing to donate lodging is encouraged to contact us and we’ll pass the information on to the Louisiana HBPA.  However, based on input from the Louisiana HBPA, any lodgings or facilities that are closer (Texas, Alabama, etc…) to them will be most useful.

As more information becomes available we will pass it along.  We join Louisiana HBPA President Sean Alfortish in extending our many thanks for everyone’s support and prayers.

Remi Bellocq
Chief Executive Officer
National HBPA, Inc.