Two Drivers Giving Back

When truckers, Derek Nadolney and his wife Mel decided to collect supplies for the December 10, 2021 tornado victims, they never dreamed just how many people they would help!

Derek and Mel are from Midland, MI, a tight-knit community that has seen their fair share of destruction. In May of 2020, what has been described as a “500 yr. flood event” struck the region and over 10,000 people were evacuated. So, it was not surprising to them when their community rallied to help the tornado victims, but what was inspiring was the amount of support!

In December I was contacted by Derek and his wife Mel, they wanted to do a supply drive and needed some advice. They had a truck, and trailer but needed to know where it would be most needed.

So, after some planning they started collecting supplies and reaching out to the local community and the media paid off because they filled the trailer over half full on the first day! So, what do you do when you need more room? Get another trailer! In the span of their less than a weeklong supply drive they filled two 53 ft trailers to the roof! WOW!

When they called and said they had two full trailers I was floored! The out-pouring of support for these victims had been tremendous! Now to the next detail, where to take them.

Support and supplies for tornado victims in the region had been, to say the least, monumental! Supplies were coming in from every corner of the country and our usual places were overloaded with the generosity of their neighbors, so I figured let’s find some space close to store it till needed. We have already been storing other supplies waiting to be taken down and we can just add this to it. So, the great folks at Evansville Cold Storage graciously donated up some space and we unloaded the first trailer.

While supplies were needed in the region, there were other areas that needed help too. Fires were burning in Boulder, Co and had affected 35,000 people in the surrounding areas. They needed help badly and after speaking with Derek and Mel, they decided the second trailer would go to Colorado to help these people. So, we introduced them to Char Merrill-Swalberg, another group collecting supplies in Nebraska. Derek and Mel hauled the supplies to Nebraska, and with some great volunteers jumping in on short notice, the load was transferred to another trailer that would continue the trip from Nebraska to Colorado.

Volunteers in Nebraska transfer load to trailer that will continue the trip to Colorado for the fire victims

The story of this couple’s impact doesn’t end there, remember the first trailer in storage? These items are being distributed a little at a time as needed in the region. Some tornado victims have spread out looking for new communities to rebuild their lives, and so have the supplies. Some items going into areas in the impact zone and some into areas like Paduca, Owensboro and Southern Indiana.

I’m amazed every day at the generosity of people, they desire to share what they have with those less fortunate. Derek and Mel had hoped to help a few and ended up helping thousands of people in different disasters on opposite ends of the country. Without concerned and caring people like the Nadolney’s in the world many would do without.

When I told them how many people they helped and how thankful we are for inspiring Donor/Volunteers like them, I hope they understand the impact they made. They helped a community group provide one hundred supply boxes for the elderly in a housing center, they provided mothers with young children diapers so that they can use what money they have for other needed items.

Two truckloads of supplies, gathered by one community who knows what living through a disaster feels like, went to help over 50,000 people in several areas, in multiple disasters. Thank you, drivers, for all you do! You are making an impact one load at a time!

The first trailer contained over fifty pallets of supplies! Yep, all the way to the far wall!

(Stay tuned to see where these supplies are helping in multiple communities!)