ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Cleaning up nearly two million cubic yards of storm debris in Dougherty County is a daunting task, and one piece of equipment is proving vital to storm clean-up across South Georgia--a chainsaw.
With major donations from NAPA, O'Reilly Autoparts, Advanced Autoparts, and individuals, Tom Gieryic at Gieryic's Automotive Repair on Dawson Road in Albany has handed out 24 industrial strength chainsaws to vetted volunteers, including the volunteer Dougherty Search and Rescue team.
Gieryic's business is also a drop-off and pick-up point for folks who need chainsaw supplies.
Gieryic said "There is not enough equipment out there, or their equipment is breaking, or they are using these homeowner saws that are designed to run a half hour. We needed industrial saws."
"Some of the companies were not able to really purchase the saws, but they had a lot of other stuff the saws need. The oil, the gas mix, the gloves, all of the safety stuff to work with."
Volunteer Anna Noble said, "I saw on Facebook a post giving away the free gloves."
Noble came to Gieryic's Automotive to pick up some work gloves before she went to a friend's home in the devastated Paradise Village neighborhood off Holly Drive in East Albany, "They live in one of the trailers and just the frame is left, that is it."
O'Reilly Autoparts is supplying chainsaw oil.
Robert Letchworth, with O'Reilly, and another coworker dropped off a second load of oil, "These are our friends, it is our community, our families live here. Just because we are part of a corporation, everyone that works there is local."
Tom Gieryic said, "It makes me feel good to be a part of this community. It's a little bit of brightness going on in all of this darkness."
Gieryic said the chainsaw is a gift, but one that comes with a condition, "If you have no use for them, I want you to bring them back so we can store them for the next time we need them, so we can get them out a lot quicker."
"I tell a lot of (the chainsaw recipients), it is on loan to you, for life."
All 24 chainsaws, a majority donated by NAPA and the rest by individuals, have been handed out, and Gieryic said he could easily hand out another 24.
If you would like to purchase a chainsaw to be given out to a vetted volunteer, you can contact Gieryic's Automotive at 229-384-5993, and you will be directed to several local businesses where you can buy them at cost and Gieryic will pick them up get them to the proper people.
Or, you can buy an industrial chainsaw and drop it off.
NAPA, O'Reilly Autoparts, and Advanced Autoparts have all donated chainsaws or chainsaw supplies.