Hiller Comes Together for New Orleans Branch After Hurricane Ida

This has been a year of challenges across the country on multiple fronts, and Hiller has not been immune. The silver lining for Hiller and its employees has been seeing the Hiller team come together to help each other. As you know, Hurricane Ida wreaked havoc on the Gulf Coast and was particularly devastating for Hiller New Orleans. In true Hiller form, branches across the country pooled their resources to help those affected begin recovering as quickly as possible.

Hiller branches and divisions sprang into action the day after the storm hit. Hiller Corporate brought a building generator to the New Orleans office so that it could be used as a respite for those without power. Employees gathered to find a cool space, and the kitchen was used to provide hot meals. Branches around the country sent supplies including:

  • Roughly 9 pallets of bottled water
  • Numerous generators for employees to use at home
  • 1000ss of gallons of gas
  • Countless bags of ice
  • Food and drinks of all types
  • Tarps, nails, gloves, etc. for repairs
  • Cleaning supplies including sanitizers, bleach, paper towels and trash bags
  • Flashlights & batteries

Today, things are relatively back to normal business at the workplace. On the home front, many employees sustained minor damage with others seeing more severe damage, so people are still working with insurance companies and hiring contractors to make repairs and/or rebuild as necessary.
Hiller New Orleans Marine Project Manager Chris Krider was moved by the support from his Hiller family.

“The support we received right after was awe-inspiring. Many members of my family were shocked at the rapid response and to the extent that the company provided support to the employees here,” he said. “And after receiving support just days after the storm, we continued to receive support for weeks afterward. This meant a lot to us that the company supported their employees and showed the generosity they did during our time of need. Many other companies in the area did not support their employees in the same manner that Hiller did.”

Tara Pitre, Herbert S. Hiller’s inside sales manager, echoed Chris’ sentiments.

“We are grateful for the generosity of our donors from every office. It is truly a blessing to work for such a wonderful company as Hiller” she said. “They went above and beyond any of our expectations. Not only did they help us, but they also helped our families, customers and so many others. They have no idea how many lives they have touched.”

Chris, Tara and the Hiller New Orleans branch would like to thank the corporate office for coordinating efforts.

“A big thank you from all of Hiller New Orleans to those in Corporate that made all of this happen along with all the branches that contributed,” Chris said and Tara reiterated. “I’m sure there were many more behind the scenes, but I’d like to say a special thank you to Frankie Martin, Marcus Porter, Jason Bedsole, Robert Hunter, Simon Thornton and John Cocke for their support in either delivering or coordinating deliveries of supplies to us.”

Hiller Launches RiseUp! Initiative

This year has been a difficult one for people and businesses across the country. The pandemic has affected all of us in many ways. For those who were struggling to make ends meet already, the shutdown made things untenable. Food insecurity became more prevalent, and at Hiller, we realized we were in a position to help. In May, we launched the RiseUp! Initiative as a way to come together as a company to do our part to help when and where we can.

For our first endeavor, we partnered with Feeding America through our branches across the United States to do our part to reduce food insecurity. As an essential business that has been able to keep our employees working, we knew we could rise to the occasion and help those struggling during the COVID-19 crisis. We invited our branches and divisions to partner with their local Feeding America affiliated food banks for volunteer days, fundraising and donation drives.

Through the time and dedication of our employees across the country, we were able to collectively raise over $5,000 and spend 200 hours fighting food insecurity.

Herbert S. Hiller Partners with the National WWII Museum to Restore PT-305

The newly updated PT-305 docked.

It is in the mid-1940’s, we were in the middle of World War II. The United States Navy was in need of small boats that could move in fast against the enemy. The PT-305 was part of a new class of vessels in the war; a light, swift and aggressive hunter. Patrol Torpedo (PT) boats went where larger ships could not, patrolling enemy-held coastlines at night, launching attacks on enemy shipping, then vanishing into the darkness.

PT boats built by Higgins Industries of New Orleans were made of wood: spruce ribs, pine keel, and a mahogany hull. Three powerful Packard engines gave them a top speed of over 40 knots. Carrying torpedoes, machine guns, and a cannon, PTs were pound for pound, the heaviest armed craft in the US Navy.

On March 30, 1943, the keel was laid for PT-305, “Sudden Jerk.” She launched on May 27th and was commissioned into Motor Torpedo Boat Squadron 22 on December 8, 1943. The next six weeks were spent testing PT-305 on Lake Pontchartrain before shakedown in Miami. In April, she was loaded onto an oil tanker in Norfolk, VA, for shipment across the Atlantic to the Mediterranean Theatre. During her war days, she was responsible for sinking three enemy vessels.

She was purchased by the National WWII Museum and returned to New Orleans in April 2007. After ten years and more than 120,000 volunteer hours, the PT-305, “Sudden Jerk”, has been completely restored to her late 1944 appearance and is fully operational.

Herbert S. Hiller reached out to a few of our dedicated suppliers. We supplied the engine room CO2 fire suppression system, portable fire extinguishers, fire hose, and nozzle. Hiller donated the engineering, field labor, and pipe and fittings required to install and certify these systems.

To find out more about the PT-305 and the National WWII Museum in New Orleans, visit their website.

Herbert S. Hiller employee volunteers on the PT-305.
Hiller technicians David Lucas (left) and Randy Brisbi (right) install CO2 piping for the PT-305.
Danny Brown (Manager, Strategic Projects at Herbert S. Hiller) alongside Candy Westfall (PT-305 Project Manager for the World War II Museum)