TROSA volunteers help Operation Airdrop provide hurricane relief

In the wake of Hurricane Florence, TROSA helped provide relief and assistance to affected areas through Operation Airdrop.

Teamwork and helping others are key tenets of TROSA’s recovery program. TROSA residents volunteer more than 2,000 hours each year, helping other nonprofits and community organizations. In the wake of Hurricane Florence, TROSA helped provide relief and assistance to affected areas through Operation Airdrop.

Operation Airdrop is a national nonprofit that organizes volunteer pilots and planes to fly donated supplies to disaster areas. After Hurricane Florence, Operation Airdrop set up a site at the Raleigh-Durham (RDU) Airport.

TROSA is located in Durham, North Carolina, and the city was lucky to have avoided major damage. Knowing that many coastal cities were not so lucky, TROSA staff and residents wanted to give back in some way. 

On Friday, September 21, TROSA staff members led by Joe Boone and Kristen Rosselli sent more than 22 pallets of supplies, including medical and personal hygiene products, clothing, and emergency blankets, to the airport in one of TROSA Moving’s trailers.

Assessing the need for on-the-ground organization, sorting, and loading assistance, TROSA then sent residents on Saturday, September 22 to assist in receiving donations from the public and loading the airplanes with donated supplies. The residents provided critical logistics help all day Saturday and Sunday. By Sunday night—September 23—Operation Airdrop had wrapped up its operations at RDU and began to transition to moving supplies by ground transport. The TROSA team made it possible to help start ground transportation when roads began to open to the coast.

Operation Airdrop volunteer pilot Jeff Wardenaar and Operation Airdrop: Hurricane Florence Coordinator Jil Christensen both visited TROSA to say thank you in-person to all of TROSA. Wardenaar shared, “It was truly a privilege and honor to work beside [the TROSA] team and I will cherish it for the rest of my life.”

Our TROSA residents, too, felt honored to work toward a greater goal alongside volunteers from all over the state of North Carolina (and beyond!). Reflecting on their time helping with Operation Airdrop, residents shared statements such as: “It was a great feeling going out there to help people in need […] Showing them how we do things was awesome!” and  “It made me feel important and useful […] Seeing the TROSA Moving boxes with written messages from volunteers to the people in need was heart-warming. I am glad to be a part of TROSA and a part of Operation Airdrop.”  

When Operation Airdrop: Hurricane Florence concluded their airdrops, they had flown more than 475 flights carrying more than 280,000 pounds of supplies to the areas with the most need. The effects of Hurricane Florence were devastating and long-lasting, but TROSA was proud to have played a part in the immediate recovery effort for our state. Our hearts are with all those impacted who will be working to recover and rebuild.

A TROSA moving truck delivered hurricane relief supplies to the Raleigh-Durham Airport.

Operation Airdrop volunteer pilot Jeff Wardenaar (far left) and Operation Airdrop Organizer Jil Christensen (far right) visited with TROSA residents to thank them for their critical help at Raleigh-Durham Airport’s TAC airfield in the wake of Hurricane Florence.