Driver stuffs the bus to help storm victims
COAL TOWNSHIP - George Pettit, like many others, saw on television the devastation that Superstorm Sandy wrought on the East Coast nearly three weeks ago.
He also saw an opportunity to help those in need.
"Two weeks ago, I was watching the news and I just felt like a I had to do something," Pettit said. So, the part-time bus driver for King Coal Tours, who works full time for PennDOT and lives in Hazle Township, coordinated a "stuff the bus" event with the help of the bus company.
He approached Jonathan Else, vice president of operations for King Coal Tours, with his idea.
"I asked him if the company would donate a bus and load it up for the hurricane victims. He told me no problem and asked when I needed it," Pettit said while standing in the Coal Township Wal-Mart parking lot on a brisk morning Friday. He stood next to a shiny white bus covered in homemade signs asking for donations. King Coal Tours also donated the fuel for the trip.
"Wal-Mart has been really good at helping the storm victims" he said.
He was in the parking lot from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday, collecting cleaning supplies, children's jackets, blankets and many other items for his trip and placed them in the bus' luggage compartment.
Today, he will drive the bus to a Wal-Mart in Hazleton to continue to collect donations from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. From there, he will make the 3 1/2 drive to Little Egg Harbor, N.J.
"I called Staten Island and they put me in contact with a volunteer there. She was crying on the phone and was happy that the bus was coming," Pettit said. "They really got wiped out and hit hard."