SBU’s Disaster Relief Organization Rebuilds in Flooded Ohio

Emily Ciraolo Around the Province

ALLEGANY, N.Y. —  BonaResponds, a St. Bonaventure University (SBU) volunteer disaster relief group, returned from Findlay, Ohio, yesterday, where the group helped to rebuild communities devastated by August’s severe flooding.

The group traveled to Ohio for mid-term break, Oct. 5-9, to aid in the area’s disaster recovery efforts. The Blanchard River in northern Ohio rose eight feet above flood level, destroying homes across eight counties and forcing 2,000 Findlay residents to evacuate. In addition, flooding damaged 2,200 homes and businesses.

“The damage is still so bad,” said Jim Mahar, Ph.D., founder and leader of BonaResponds and SBU assistant finance professor.

BonaResponds was created after Hurricane Katrina and has taken approximately 400 volunteers on service projects to the Gulf Coast and throughout Western New York.

The group responded in Biloxi, Miss., six months after Hurricane Katrina hit, cleaning up debris, gutting houses, putting up drywall, and painting. It hopes to return to the Gulf Coast in January.

BonaResponds aims to be a world-class organization whose mission is to help people in need, as well as to build better leaders and better communities. The group, comprised of students, faculty, staff, alumni and local residents, is operated through donations.

— Emily Ciraolo is a St. Bonaventure student, class of 2008.