Helping with Harvey

Published 8:41 am Saturday, September 2, 2017

Driver Brandon Cook prepares to depart.

Parker Oil sends fuel truck for hurricane relief


Two employees of Parker Oil’s Franklin plant have joined the Hurricane Harvey relief efforts in coastal Texas on behalf of the company.

Kevin Lackey, manager of the Franklin plant, said that he received the call to deploy from a disaster relief agency with which Parker Oil partners sometime from 1 to 2 p.m. local time Thursday. By 9:30 p.m., one truck carrying a supply of gasoline and diesel fuel was on the road.

The Franklin driver assigned to transport the fuel to Texas is Brandon Cook, who has worked for the company for a little over one year. His brother, Devin, volunteered to go along to help and will be paid by the company to do so, but is not an employee.

The brothers are to rendezvous with four additional Parker Oil crews from the company’s Lawrenceville, Hopewell, Emporia and South Hill plants once they reach Louisiana. From there they will be deployed to different locations in Texas.

“We may get a call to send more trucks but right now they only needed the five,” Lackey said. “The drivers will be down there for a couple of weeks or more, it depends on how long it takes for them to get operational again.”

Typically, he said, when trucks and drivers are dispatched to a disaster area, the fuel they carry is used to resupply utility company trucks, allowing those crews to get lines up and operational again, or to refuel generators at pharmacies. But none of the drivers will know the ultimate destinations and uses for their cargo until they meet with the disaster relief agencies working the scene.

“We’ve been deployed to [Hurricane] Sandy; we’ve been as close to home as Portsmouth; we’ve been to South Carolina and now we’re heading to Texas,” Lackey said. “Usually, it’s hurricane relief.”

Brandon’s wife, Morgan Bailey Cook, said that she had known as of Monday or Tuesday this past week that there was the possibility that he would go. However, since they had not heard anything by the end of the day Wednesday, they assumed that it wasn’t going to happen.

“But he called me around 3:20 p.m. Thursday afternoon,” she said. “He was going. I was super sad but I’m very proud and honored that he’s doing this. He has a huge heart and he’ll give the shirt off his back so I’m not surprised.”

They have been married for a little over one year and reside in Courtland.

She added, “In a world filled with so much hurt and hate lately, it’s nice to see people from all different places coming together for the tragedy in Texas.”