Committed to relief
by Jack Bulavsky
Committed to relief
AGEM members, employees step up to assist with Katrina relief efforts
AGEM Report by Jack Bulavsky
Nearly two months after Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast, it is still incredible to comprehend what actually occurred there. AGEM members have many employees working and living throughout that area and for many, they are not just employees; they are friends and family.
AGEM member companies immediately became involved with the welfare of their employees and monitored their health and safety. In a broader stroke, AGEM donated $25,000 to the American Red Cross Katrina Relief Fund, and $25,000 to the Salvation Army Katrina Relief Fund.
"There are so many wonderful organizations caring for the victims of the hurricane," said AGEM President Walt Stowe. "We wanted to contribute to all of them, but the Red Cross and Salvation Army cross all lines and have systems in place that direct food, clothing and shelter to the overall population."
Both Penney Towers, CEO of the Southern Nevada Chapter of the American Red Cross, and Maj. William Raihl, Clark County Commander of the Salvation Army, thanked AGEM for its concern and generosity.
Beyond AGEM's donations, individual members have contributed to the Gulf Coast. Here's a few examples:
• JCM American: JCM American's worldwide offices joined together to donate $30,000 to the Gaming Industry Katrina Relief Fund. JCM's offices in Osaka, Hong Kong, Sydney, Düsseldorf, London and the United States all joined to assist the hurricane relief effort to provide disaster relief and assistance to affected gaming employees in Mississippi and Louisiana.
"Words cannot adequately describe our shock at the situation or begin to ease the pain of those affected," said JCM American President Aki Isoi. "But we are proud to be members of two organizations, the AGA and AGEM, that are acting quickly to help, and are pleased that our international offices are joining in this effort."
• WMS Gaming: A WMS Hurricane Katrina Relief Fund was established to directly assist WMS family members impacted by Hurricane Katrina. As of mid-September, donations from WMS employees, officers, directors, and suppliers totaled $65,227. This amount is in addition to a $100,000 contribution made by the company. WMS continues to pay the salaries of its employees impacted by Hurricane Katrina, and is closely working to place them in productive roles.
By Sept. 30, 21 of 31 WMS Biloxi employees will have been redeployed to other WMS regional offices. The remaining employees will soon be back to work in the Biloxi office once the power returns and the necessary clean up has occurred.
• Gaming Partners International: Gerard P. Charlier, chief executive officer, presented a check for $50,000 to Frank J. Fahrenkopf, Jr., president and CEO of the American Gaming Association, for the Gaming Industry Katrina Relief Fund that provides assistance to the affected gaming employees in Mississippi and Louisiana.
Charlier was joined in the presentation by the company's Gulf Coast area sales manager, Jena Cuevas, who resides in Gulfport, Miss. and who survived the storm.
"Everyone has been deeply affected by the scenes of mass loss, suffering and deprivation caused by this devastating storm," said Charlier. "In particular, we note the many industry employees on the Gulf Coast who have been profoundly impacted by this disaster. As our name indicates, Gaming Partners is committed to partnership with our industry, and we are working to help the affected families restore their lives and to speed the recovery of the casinos and local economy."
• Konami Gaming: The company is assisting all employees and working closely with the American Red Cross.
• IGT: Of the $1 million IGT has pledged for Katrina charitable donations (for IGT employees, customers, and the Gulf Coast communities at large), $400,000 has already been sent. Added to that total was $15,000 in IGT employee donations that was matched by IGT for employee relief and for the Red Cross. To date, IGT has donated $415,000 with an additional $600,000 pledged.
• Bally Gaming and Systems: The company is matching all employee contributions to the AGA Industry Katrina Relief Fund, up to $50,000, for a total of $100,000. CJ
Jack Bulavsky is executive director of the Las Vegas-based Association of Gaming Equipment Manufacturers (AGEM). If you're interested in learning more about AGEM, contact Jack at (702) 434-4597 or visit www.agem.org.