by Chris Gilligan, Xerox Public Relations

Anybody who was paying attention to the weather forecast on Friday March 2 knew there was a bulls-eye on Kentucky for severe weather. You know it’s going to be bad when Jim Cantore from the Weather Channel decides to report about the worst of the storm damage… from your hometown.

Schools let out early. Non-essential government workers were sent home. All available emergency crews were called in. Businesses shut down.

About 4-pm the tornado sirens went off. Everybody in my building evacuated to the basement. We were safe. Between waves of storms I raced home to be with my family in our basement. We were safe and lucky, but thousands of Kentuckians were not as fortunate. Twenty-three people here were killed by devastating tornados, including the mother of a Xerox employee. Thousands of people had their homes damaged or destroyed.

A killer tornado left a 100 mile long path of death and destruction, including an infant who was found dead in a field. Small towns completely razed – they literally don’t exist anymore. One judge said it was as bad as anything he saw in Vietnam.

Xerox has a large presence in Kentucky, nearly 5,000 employees, making us one of the largest private employers in the state and one of our largest places of operation in the Unites States. We’re doing what we can to help our impacted employees. But we are also doing what we can to help our friends and neighbors in Kentucky. Xerox is donating $50,000 to Kentucky Cares, a Red Cross sponsored relief effort. The telethon raised more than $400,000, with the Xerox donation. It won’t be nearly enough to help everyone get back on their feet, but it’s a start. It will allow the Red Cross to provide a few extra hot meals, blankets to sleep on or clothes to wear.

If you’d like to help storm victims in Kentucky you can text a donation by texting redcross to 90999, or you can make a secure online credit card donation at http://www.redcross.org/or call 1-800-HELP NOW (1-800-435-7669) or 1-800-257-7575 (Spanish).

You can also send your donation to your local Red Cross, or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243; Washington, D.C. 20013.