City Island Family Starts Alabama Tornado Relief Effort

A generous City Island family is doing their best to help those who lost everything in Alabama.

Around 330 people were killed and approximately $2 billion in damage has left Alabama in shambles after deadly tornados swarmed through the southern state on Wednesday, April 27.

Patricia Madsen, a mother of two young girls in City Island, was heart-broken after learning that a friend of hers who had a friend in Alabama, lost her home and members of her family during the disaster.

After learning the news, Madsen, along with her husband P.J., put together a few items that they might be able to send to Alabama to help the relief effort in any way possible.

“As a mom, it hit me really hard to hear about all of it,” Patricia Madsen said. “Even though it’s a state so far from New York, you feel that pain that other mothers may feel and you want to help them recover from their losses.”

P.J. Madsen briefly mentioned his wife’s idea to fellow neighbors and a few days later, the couple found bags of clothes and other goods on their porch ready to be sent to the stricken state.

Seeking a way to get all of the donations down to Alabama, Madsen contacted 211 in Alabama, which is equivalent to the 311 system in New York City.

Madsen was given the number to a local Alabama radio station, 100 WAPR, where she wasinterviewed about what she was doing from the Bronx.

Her efforts were noted by Bobby Steelman, owner of the Clark Freight Lines Inc. trucking company in Birmingham, Alabama, who offered to send a truck to City Island to pick up the donated goods from Madsen’s home.

Madsen began posting flyers all over City Island and on Wednesday, May 4, an 18-wheeler truck came through City Island and visited the Madsen home on King Avenue to pick up bags and boxes of generous donations from people across the borough.

“We only filled up about a quarter of the truck, but even the smallest amounts make a difference,” Madsen said. “Even after the truck left, I got more bags of supplies and Bobby Steelman said he would keep sending trucks for as long as we kept collecting donations.”

Although another truck was scheduled to come by Friday, May 13, Madsen is trying to hold it off as long as she can so that more donations can be collected to fill the truck.

Councilman Jimmy Vacca was made aware of what Patricia was doing for the crippled state and was proud to know someone like her is representing the Bronx.

“One person putting this together is unbelievable and it’s an indication of how only one person can make a difference,” Vacca said. “We can’t forget about Alabama because those peoples lives were turned upside down. Patricia has shown excellent skills in giving to others and it speaks well about the people of our communities.”

The next truck is set to pick-up supplies early next week.

To donation call Patricia Madsen at (917) 971-9945.

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