When hurricanes Katrina struck in 2005 and Irene last year, young Kali Guyer, of Mohawk, told her family she was willing to walk to the scenes of destruction to help those in need.
So when Hurricane Sandy walloped the East Coast last month — and nearly seven months after the 14-year-old girl was killed by a motor vehicle in April — her family knew what Kali would have wanted to do if she were alive, her mother said.
“Since it’s so close to home, she would have been so determined to go down there and help,” Heather Guyer said Monday. “She couldn’t stand to see anyone suffer or go without, and this was what she would have done, or attempted to do.”
Prompted by that inspiration, Kali’s family and friends on Nov. 2 began seeking donations to bring downstate to those still struggling without power or roofs over their heads. They called it “Operation Kali’s Quest” in seek of essential items such as blankets, pillows, toiletries and water, as well as meticulously labeled and sorted items of clothing, Heather Guyer said.
The main drop-off point was in the Mohawk Municipal Building, but Heather Guyer and several others also went door to door in Mohawk, Ilion, Frankfort and Little Falls last week to find anyone who might have something to give.
The end result was a packed U-Haul ready to deliver these items Tuesday to the New York City area. The truck also lugged the overflow that couldn’t be shipped in an earlier truck that went downstate Friday.
Last week, local media personality Bill Keeler led a 26-foot truck donated by Carl’s Furniture on a journey to deliver all the bottled water, brooms, shovels, batteries, flashlights, garbage bags, gallons of bleach and gas cans they could fit.
After first being turned away by the initial Staten Island destination at which they had arranged to unload, Keeler and two others drove around piles of sand and dirt until they found a church willing to accept their handouts, he said.
Working with the Boilermaker Committee, WKTV and the Mohawk Valley Community Action Agency, Keeler was able to once again tap into the spirit of generosity that always has defined this region, he said.
“I just think it reaffirms what we already know — that this area just is a giving area, and people just have to help,” Keeler said. “That’s what we do.”