Eastern Shipbuilding Group, the Panama City, Fla.-based shipbuilder that got hit hard by Hurricane Michael, is focusing on helping its employees recover from the storm. The company’s two major shipyards are based in Bay County, Fla., which was declared a major disaster area in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael. The company's Allanton shipyard is located just a few miles west of Mexico Beach, Fla., where Hurricane Michael made landfall.

“The damage caused by Hurricane Michael has affected our community and our lives. As a family-owned business, we consider our employees part of our family and they are our first priority,” ESG President Joey D’Isernia said in a statement. “We remain committed to doing everything we can to help them through this difficult time.”

ESG and its suppliers are assisting ESG employees with meals on-site as well as water, ice and other essentials for employees to take home to their families. Additionally, ESG is bringing in temporary accommodations for a number of employees that were hit hardest by the storm and is offering an interest-free loan program to all direct hire hourly employees that could only work limited hours prior to the landfall of Hurricane Michael.

Eastern is also working closely with governmental officials and contractors to restore power, water and communication at both shipyard facilities while also repairing damage in an effort get the yards fully operational again as soon as possible. Several portable diesel generators have been shipped in to provide temporary power while the permanent electrical infrastructure is repaired.

“Although we were significantly impacted by this catastrophic weather event, we are making great strides each day thanks to the strength and resiliency of our employees,” said D’Isernia. “We are filled with hope and pride as we see family, neighbors and volunteers helping each other and we are grateful to our partners, customers and the federal and state lawmakers that have assisted us so far on our path to recovery.”

Eastern has been contacted by many of its friends and partners with offers of assistance for ESG employees.

If you would like to contribute goods or supplies to ESG employees please contact Justin Smith at: 850-387-6697 or 850-819-3362, email: [email protected]

Also, online fundraising has been setup at GoFundMe fun for Eastern Employees hardest hit by Hurricane Michael. You can give at https://www.gofundme.com/eastern-shipbuilding-employee-fund.

Progress updates and additional charitable options for the benefit of Hurricane Michael affected ESG employees are available at www.easternshipbuilding.com.

David Krapf has been editor of WorkBoat, the nation’s leading trade magazine for the inland and coastal waterways industry, since 1999. He is responsible for overseeing the editorial direction of the publication. Krapf has been in the publishing industry since 1987, beginning as a reporter and editor with daily and weekly newspapers in the Houston area. He also was the editor of a transportation industry daily in New Orleans before joining WorkBoat as a contributing editor in 1992. He has been covering the transportation industry since 1989, and has a degree in business administration from the State University of New York at Oswego, and also studied journalism at the University of Houston.