Charley, Frances, Ivan, and Jeanne. They are names that won’t soon be forgotten in the Southeastern and Mid-Atlantic United States, where the Vecellio Group and its subsidiaries have most of their operations.
The four powerful hurricanes made landfall within a six-week span, disrupting operations, damaging property, and taking out power, phone and water services for millions.
Charley was first in mid-August. Coming in from the Gulf of Mexico, it traveled across central Florida then up the coastline to affect Vecellio & Grogan’s operations in North Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia.
In Winter Garden/Orlando, FL, Ranger North’s office, shop and asphalt plant held up well, with only minor landscaping damage. But Charley, like the three storms that followed, ate into production schedules. Barricades and signage had to be taken down for safety, then reinstalled. Debris and flooded job sites caused production delays. And widespread utility outages affected businesses and employees alike.
Round two came on Labor Day weekend, with Hurricane Frances hitting from the east, wreaking havoc at Ranger’s West Palm Beach facilities, toppling trees, damaging fences and some equipment, and flooding the asphalt lab.
Ranger’s Ft. Pierce facilities also took a hit as the storm moved northwest. The office roof buckled and the asphalt plant suffered damage. High winds peeled open the outer shells of the asphalt mixing drum and one of the silos. Damaged trees dotted the property.
Ivan threatened just days later, shutting down Ranger job sites until it finally landed in Florida’s Panhandle. Though outside of Ranger’s territory, Ivan brought substantial rain and flooding to the Mid-Atlantic states where Vecellio & Grogan operates, as did the remnants of Charley and Frances.
Not content to hit Florida once, part of Ivan circled east and south as a tropical storm, crossing through Ranger Central’s territory and flooding the rain-soaked area even further.
But Mother Nature still was not finished. Waiting in the wings was Hurricane Jeanne, which had everyone guessing as it did a complete loop-the-loop in the Atlantic Ocean, then aimed due west for Palm Beach and Martin Counties. It made landfall in virtually the same spot as Frances three weeks earlier and followed a similar path northwest through the state.
The one-two punch was more than Ranger’s Ft. Pierce office could absorb. Jeanne tore open the office roof and caused significant interior damage. Carpeting had to be ripped out, walls gutted and ceiling tiles replaced to repair the water damage and eliminate the potential for mold problems. The mechanic’s shop also lost part of its roof, while the asphalt plant’s drum and silos lost more exterior panels.
Employees Rise To The Occasion
Employees, of course, were also affected by the storms. Many had home and property damage and endured extended outages of power, water and phone service. Despite the difficulties, employees at each location rose to the occasion, helping each other and the company get back to “normal” in what was a slow and exasperating process.
Especially appreciated are Ranger employeees who worked on Labor Day immediately following Hurricane Frances: Bobby Angel, Terry Basher, Wayne Bolin, Dave Boston, Steve Brown, Abe Cantu, Joe Childs, Arthur Clinton, Dan Cooney, Miguel Correa, Jason Daley, Eyon Gordon, Jorge Hernandez, Johnny Hughes, Shelby Jarrell, Elizabeth Kerstner, James Lowe, Moe MacAllister, Merle Manke, Rick Morris, Nancye Myles, Ted Neely, Oscar Oliva, Ilene Passler, Alvin Peete, Kevin Phillipson, Charles Purvis, Miles Purvis, Larry Roberts, Doug Rosencrans, Bob Schafer, John Shively, Jeff Singleton, Mike Slade, Robert Sneed, Jon Stover, Blake Studdard, Clint Talley, Jorge Villar, and Angel Zelaya.
Emergency Repair Work
The storms generated emergency repair contracts awarded to local road contractors. Ranger received contracts to remove debris, open travel lanes and reconstruct washed out roadways in Brevard, Indian River, St. Lucie, Martin, Palm Beach and Broward County.
Ranger’s work includes miles of Indian River Drive in St. Lucie County and US-1 in Brevard County, where the river bank, shoulder and large sections of roadway were seriously damaged. requiring day and night shifts to repair.
Ranger grading crews are on 12-hour day shifts to repair shoulder and road base damage, with paving crews scheduled for 12-hour night shifts for the asphalt repairs.