When the USA Volleyball community called for help, that call was answered.

On Oct. 24, Florida Region Executive Director Steve Bishop and region staff delivered more than $4,000 worth of supplies to help Gulf Coast Region volleyball families affected by Hurricane Michael.

Joining Bishop on the trip were Florida Region Commissioner/Board Chair Mary Andrew, Registrar/Senior Business Manager Michele Moriarty and Indoor Events Coordinator Molly O’Bryan.

Bishop also presented Gulf Coast Commissioner Phillip Bryant with checks totaling $16,500 raised from members in Florida and the Arizona, Great Lakes and Old Dominion Regions. The money is for Gulf Coast Region staff to use as additional needs arise in the coming weeks and months.

“The area was a mess,” Bishop wrote in a thank-you note to contributing regions. “It looked like a bomb went off for miles and miles. There were power company crews still trying to get lines up and power restored. Several business that were not destroyed appeared to only be open to serve the massive amount of first responders and power crews that were in the area. I have personally been through many hurricanes in my 50-plus years in Florida, but this one was truly devastating to the Florida Panhandle region.”

Bishop spearheaded the effort to collect donations after speaking with Bryant and club directors in the affected areas.

Florida Region headquarters served as a collection site, and the Florida Region staff then drove to the Gulf Coast Region Wednesday.

Items collected included water, toilet paper,T-shirts, pants, toiletries, work gloves, plastic utensils, paper plates and nonperishable food items, while items purchased with monetary donations included cat and dog food, flashlights, batteries, first-aid kids, air mattresses, duct tape and more.

“The tears shed by the club director when she saw the support coming from others in the USAV family pretty much said it all,” Bishop added.

One of the cities hardest hit by Hurricane Michael was Panama City, home of Bay United Elite Volleyball of the Gulf Coast Region. According to the BUEV website, 10 schools in the area suffered major structural damage to their gyms, where many of the club’s tournaments and practices are held.

Unfortunately, because of the damage and the economic impact on families, BUEV suspended the 2018-19 travel season.

If you are interested in supporting the region, contact Bryant at gcrcommish@gmail.com.