OK, I know I know... this isn't a music-related story, but so what. It's a good story nonetheless... especially since all we've been hearing about on the news lately are tales of disaster.
Karl Malone (yes, the ex-basketball player) brought a fleet of heavy machinery to Pascagoula, Mississippi, recently to help clear debris for families in need. Malone, who owns a logging company in Arkansas and is himself an experienced truck driver and logger, however, was met by a brick wall of red tape as he approached the affected area. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Army Corps of Engineers both said Malone wasn't authorized to bring his machinery - a backhoe, three bulldozers and several RVs - into the affected areas to help those in need. They basically instructed him to turn back. But you all know that the Mailman wasn't having any of that shit.
"There was a lot of red tape, and I ain't got time for that," he told the AP. "I found out that if you're going to do something good, just go ahead and do it. Once I get in my machine, no one is going to get me out. We just said 'the hell with it.' FEMA didn't approve, but we did it for the people."
Malone said that landowners were told that debris from their lots had to be moved out to the street before it could be hauled away by FEMA-authorized contractors.
"How is a landowner who just lost everything going to pay $15,000 or $20,000 to have a lot cleared?" he asked. "I mean, there were two or three houses on top of one another in some places."
So Malone and his team did it for them, clearing 114 lots using 18 vehicles, with the Mailman himself spending 12 hours a day behind the wheel of heavy machinery.
The team was completely self contained, bringing their own water, food and supplies. The did it all for FREE.
"We didn't want to take even one bottle of water away from these people. When we told them we were doing this for free, they looked at us like we were crazy or something."
With all of the bad news going around these days, I just figured some of you might want to hear about something good for a change. Sending 18 vehicles across the country is one thing, but a multi-millionaire future hall of fame athlete leading a team himself and then spending 12 hours a day working alongside them is damn commendable. Kudos to Malone for cutting through the red tape and making a difference.
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