In the span of a month, building products manufacturer TAMKO found itself dealing with two of the worst tornado disasters in American history. On April 27, a tornado outbreak tore across the southeastern U.S., including an EF-4 storm in Tuscaloosa, Ala., where TAMKO operates a high-volume shingle manufacturing plant. Twenty-five days later, another EF-4 hit even closer to home in Joplin, Mo. – TAMKO’s headquarters and home to additional manufacturing facilities.
“We were spectacularly lucky to have weathered these storms,” says director of communication Ron Cook. “The Joplin tornado was a couple of miles south of the shingle plant here, and our corporate offices were undamaged. In Tuscaloosa, our warehouse was hit and the plant had some damage, but we’ve been able to rebuild.”
Cook says the company is relieved that no current employees were injured during the storms, though sadly one retired employee was killed and about 30 families lost their homes to the two storms. To help assist in relief efforts, TAMKO has contributed $1 million to the Greater Ozarks chapter of the Red Cross for the Joplin-area recovery efforts and $250,000 to the organization’s West Alabama Chapter. The company has also created an Employee Tornado Relief fund to which anyone can contribute. Additionally, TAMKO president David Humphreys and his family have donated an additional $250,000 of personal funds to rebuild Joplin schools, which were hit hard by the tornado.
“The widespread devastation is truly heartbreaking,” Humphreys said in a statement regarding the Joplin donations. “We want to support the recovery efforts that are required to alleviate the suffering caused by this massive disaster. Having just rebuilt our Tuscaloosa plant that was severely damaged by an April tornado, we know the impact of these storms on our own employees and others.”
Cook agrees. “It’s gratifying to us as a company knowing that we’re playing a role in rebuilding communities where employees live and work,” he says. “We’ve been part of Joplin since 1944, and to have such an important role in rebuilding is a great source of pride for our employees.”
Currently, both the Tuscaloosa and Joplin manufacturing facilities are up and running. Cook says the plants are producing the company’s most popular types of shingles in large quantities “as safely and quickly as possible.” In addition to monetary assistance, the company knows that building products will be an important part of the rebuilding process and wants to be able to provide trusted materials as homes and businesses are rebuilt.