Donation Drive To Benefit Alabama Tornado Victims

March 07– Mar. 7–Philanthropist John Bushman choked back tears as he reflected on watching news footage of the tornado damage from eastern Alabama.

Bushman, the Investment Corporation of America CEO, said he needed to help immediately.

On Tuesday, Bushman pledged $100,000 to relief efforts following Sunday afternoon’s tornado damage. The donations will be sent to the American Red Cross and earmarked for tornado relief efforts.

“I have that responsibility and that need, because I’ve been gifted with so many gifts in my life,” Bushman said. “I recognize I’m in a position to do that and I know not everyone is able to do that. There are some people barely scraping by themselves, but those of us that are in that position want to awaken the need to help other people.”

Bushman has invited the public to a donation drive from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday at the Dillard’s Courtyard inside the Music City Mall in Odessa. Checks should be made payable to American Red Cross. Donations can also be mailed to ICA.

There will be live music during the donation drive, which will feature two local performers. Kathy Swindler, ICA vice president and director of marketing, said. She said the performers will be Victor Andrada from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and Roxanna Rodriguez from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Swindler explained the importance of rapidly constructing a benefit following a natural disaster.

“We have to move pretty quickly, because the need will go on for a long time,” Swindler said. “We have some great team members and everyone pitched in and we were ready to go.”

In September 2018, Bushman helped raise $276,000 for Hurricane Florence relief efforts during an ICA concert. Those proceeds were split evenly between Feeding America, the American Red Cross and United Way.

Bushman said the reasoning behind choosing the American Red Cross for tornado relief efforts is that the nonprofit has the mobility to impact the damaged areas more readily.

“I’m not sure that I could go there and allocate money,” Bushman said with a smile. “I just have to trust people that can do that and have done it for years.”

On Sunday afternoon, 23 people were killed in the nation’s deadliest tornado in nearly six years. There are reportedly 116 residences that are unlivable and 500 families displaced.

Bushman said he couldn’t imagine being forced to start anew without outside assistance.

“We are just trying to respond to basic human need,” Bushman said. “I’m partial to people in remote areas, because I know what kind of money they make and they scarcely get by. I was born and raised in that kind of environment and I can always relate to those people real well.

“It’s such a tough deal and it breaks my heart to see that. Our hearts should go out to those folks.”

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