Industry representative helps disaster victims

Industry representative helps disaster victims
Cookout volunteers included, from left, Devyn Luden, Nancy Pfeffer, Liam Galbreath, Gino Izzo, Quinn Basil, Aaron Basil, Ray Luden, Sue Regan and Kendra Luden. (Photos courtesy of Ray Luden)

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PROs stepped up earlier this month to lend a hand to Hurricane Sandy victims. Ray Luden, northeast U.S. sales representative for PolyJohn Enterprises, organized a local cookout at St. Francis De Sales Parish in Far Rockaway, N.Y.

Luden came upon the church during a trip to the area to assist PolyJohn customers affected by the storm, and he was taken aback by the devastation. “I’ve never been moved so much in my life by what I saw there,” he says. “I’ve never seen anything like it in my life.”

He reached out to some buddies to help with cooking burgers, hot dogs, chicken sandwiches, and handing out water, fruit and cookies. Nancy Pfeffer, owner of Saxon Limited in Long Island, a portable restroom and roll-off container company, and her kids also assisted.

“The main thing is that the crew of guys I’m going with, we like to keep it light,” says Luden. “I told the guy at the church that we’re not only going to bring our good feelings and good intentions and some real good food, but we’re going to bring happiness to those folks as well.”

Luden also sent a short message to friends and colleagues asking for donations. “It’s remarkable the donations that came through just from sending out a few sentences in an email,” he says.

One friend who couldn’t make it to the cookout said he would pass a hat around at his son’s football game for donations and whatever they collected, he’s going to match it. “That’s just how people respond,” says Luden.

Luden made an impact on the people affected by the hurricane, but also on the ones providing support. They served about 1,100 people on a Saturday afternoon.

“It was definitely a feel-good day, no doubt about it,” says Luden. “You learn a lot when you’re down there about people and get a grasp on the situation as a whole.”

Kids also played a role in the cookout event. Luden’s daughters and other helpers’ children were there to lend a hand. “The best thing was that we put the kids out front and they were serving the food,” says Luden. He says seeing the connection between kids coming through the line with their parents and his own kids handing out food was gratifying. “It gave me goose bumps.”

Pfeffer, a close friend and customer of Luden, jumped at the opportunity to help. “Ray is my go-to man,” she says. “I run a lot of things by him. We needed to order equipment for emergency response workers when he mentioned the cookout. I said I wanted in.”

Her family was personally affected by the hurricane, but she wanted to help others in the community.  

“It was a great day all around,” she says. “It was an extremely moving and emotional day. The people coming through the line touched us more than we touched them.” 


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