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Press Releases – 2013

2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 (Click the dates below to download press releases)

November 18, 2013 - OBI DISASTER RELIEF TEAM EN ROUTE TO ILLINOIS TO ASSES TORNADO DAMAGE

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Operation Blessing International Disaster Relief “Advance Team” En Route To Washington, IL To Assess Tornado Damage

VIRGINIA BEACH, VA (November 18, 2013) – The humanitarian organization Operation Blessing International (OBI) has sent an advance team to the Washington, IL area today following deadly tornadoes over the weekend.

The OBI team is currently en route and will arrive this afternoon to assess the damage and to determine if the charity will deploy its full disaster relief team and equipment, and possibly coordinate volunteers. In early 2012, OBI coordinated more than 3,000 volunteers and over 23,000 volunteer hours for relief efforts in partnership with the Harrisburg, IL Emergency Manager and Illinois State Emergency Management (IEMA) following tornadoes in Harrisburg, IL.

Jody Herrington-Gettys, director of domestic disaster relief for the charity, said, “The news reports we’ve seen of the damage vary widely, from a few neighborhoods to hundreds of homes destroyed. We decided to send our advance team to see what the situation is on the ground and then we’ll make a decision as to whether we deploy from here or not.”

Should OBI decide to respond, it will send its Mobile Command Center and a construction trailer full of tools for debris removal and supplies for volunteers.

Even if the domestic disaster relief team is not deployed, OBI will still partner with local churches and other groups in order to assist with their efforts through grants and donations.

“Operation Blessing International will still be helping those who’ve lost their homes, even if we don’t fully deploy,” added Herrington-Gettys.

Anyone wishing to donate to the relief efforts can do so at www.ob.org.

ABOUT OPERATION BLESSING INTERNATIONAL:
Operation Blessing International (OBI) is one of the largest charities in America, providing strategic disaster relief, medical aid, hunger relief, clean water and community development in 23 countries around the world on a daily basis. Currently, Forbes ranks OBI as one of its “100 Largest Charities” with an efficiency rating of 99%, and Consumers Digest also named OBI as one of “America’s Top Charities” in 2012. Founded in 1978, Operation Blessing International has touched the lives of more than 255 million people in more than 105 countries and 50 states, providing goods and services valued at over $3.3 billion to date.

For interviews contact:
Chris Roslan
President
Roslan & Campion Public Relations LLC
424 West 33rd Street
Suite 620
New York, NY 10001
Work: (212) 966-4600
cell: 917-538-5629
chris@rc-pr.com
http://roslancampion.com/

November 11, 2013 - OB PHILIPPINES UPDATE ON TYPHOON HAIYAN RELIEF EFFORTS

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–Charity Sending State-Of-The-Art Chlorine Generators To Philippines From Chesapeake Warehouse Today–

VIRGINIA BEACH, VA (November 11, 2013) – Operation Blessing Foundation Philippines, the local outreach of Virginia Beach-based humanitarian organization, Operation Blessing International (OBI), has deployed disaster relief teams in multiple locations following massive devastation from Typhoon Haiyan.

Some 40 staff members from Operation Blessing Philippines are currently in Tacloban City and across the province of Leyte, the provinces of Ilo-ilo, Aklan and Eastern Samar. Due to the severe damage to roads, teams will be involved in clearing operations so that relief goods and personnel can be brought in the hardest hit areas. OB also now has medical personnel on the ground and will begin medical missions shortly.

Also today, Operation Blessing International will be shipping several state-of-the-art water purification devices to the Philippines from its warehouse in Chesapeake, VA. The first device is a SAN6 chlorine generator that can produce enough food-grade chlorine (sodium hypochlorite) to disinfect over 300,000 gallons of water each day. OBI will also be sending five portable chlorine generators, each the size of a briefcase. These portable units can run off of a car battery and each unit can provide enough food-grade chlorine to disinfect 60,000 gallons of water a day. The devices are scheduled to arrive on Wednesday and once set up, the chlorine will be distributed in the hardest hit areas in order to disinfect water, treat water wells and also be used for surface disinfection.

In addition, David Darg, Operation Blessing’s vice president of international operations, is en route to the disaster area. David will be training the local teams in the use of the chlorine generators and assisting with the Operation Blessing Philippines team’s efforts.

Typhoon Haiyan slammed into the Philippines this on November 8 with sustained winds in excess of 195mph and gusts as high as 235mph, making it perhaps the strongest cyclone to hit land in recorded history. According to reports, at least 10,000 are feared dead from the storm.

Operation Blessing International began working in the Philippines in the early 1980s by pioneering fresh water programs to the residents of the trash dump known as “Smokey Mountain.” In 1996, Operation Blessing Foundation Philippines was created and has worked to fight hunger, disease, unemployment, illiteracy, abuse, and to respond to major disasters ever since. Under the direction of Dr. Kim April C. Pascual, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, more than a million Filipinos have been helped through various humanitarian outreaches spearheaded by OB or in collaboration with OB partner agencies such as non-profit organizations, local government units, the Department of Health, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), and the Armed Forces of the Philippines. In recognition of OB’s efforts, it was awarded as NGO of the Year for Peace Efforts by the Philippines government in 2002 and 2003, and as NGO of the Year in 2006 and 2007.

For more information or to donate to the relief efforts, please visit www.ob.org.

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For interviews please contact:

Chris Roslan
Roslan & Campion
(212) 966-4600

November 8, 2013 - OB PHILIPPINES DEPLOYS DISASTER RELIEF EFFORTS FOLLOWING TYPHOON HAIYAN

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VIRGINIA BEACH, VA (November 8, 2013) – The Virginia Beach-based humanitarian organization, Operation Blessing International (OBI) is set to deploy first responder teams to help with disaster relief operations following Typhoon Haiyan.

Typhoon Haiyan slammed into the Philippines this morning with sustained winds in excess of 195mph and gusts as high as 235mph, making it perhaps the strongest cyclone to hit land in recorded history. The storm is expected to last until early Saturday morning before heading out to sea.

OBI’s Philippines’ arm, Operation Blessing Foundation Philippines, had pre-staged teams and emergency supplies and equipment in advance of the storm. As soon as Haiyan fully passes, disaster relief team leaders will begin to assess the damage and respond as needed. Efforts are expected to include providing clean water and food, emergency shelter materials and medical assistance.

Bill Horan, president of Operation Blessing International, said, “Due to the power of this super storm, we are expecting massive damage to buildings, homes and roads. The most critical need in the immediate aftermath will be providing clean water, and Operation Blessing is ready to deploy mobile filtration and disinfection units that will enable us to provide clean water for tens of thousands of people each day. In the meantime, we will also position medical teams in the hardest hit areas and later coordinate volunteer efforts to begin the cleanup.”

Operation Blessing Foundation Philippines has provided humanitarian efforts in the Philippines for over 14 years. Under the direction of Dr. Kim April C. Pascual, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, the charity works to fight hunger, disease, unemployment, illiteracy, abuse, and to respond to major disasters. To date, more than a million Filipinos have been helped through various humanitarian outreaches spearheaded by OB or in collaboration with OB partner agencies such as non-profit organizations, local government units, the Department of Health, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), and the Armed Forces of the Philippines. In recognition of OB’s efforts, it was awarded as NGO of the Year for Peace Efforts by the Philippines government in 2002 and 2003, and as NGO of the Year in 2006 and 2007.

For more information or to donate to the relief efforts, please visit www.ob.org.

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For interviews please contact:
Chris Roslan
Roslan & Campion
(212) 966-4600
chris@rc-pr.com

October 10, 2013 - OBI ANNOUNCES LAUNCH OF JAPAN BUREAU FOR LONG TERM HUMANITARIAN EFFORTS

VIRGINIA BEACH AND TOKYO (October 10, 2013) – Global humanitarian organization Operation Blessing International (OBI) announced today the official launch of its Japan bureau, Operation Blessing Japan (OBJ). Bill Horan, president of Operation Blessing International, and Don Thomson, president of Operation Blessing Japan, made the joint announcement from the Foreign Correspondents Club in Tokyo.

The establishment of OBJ follows two years of humanitarian relief efforts in Japan by Operation Blessing International, one of the largest charities in America. A first responder to the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami, OBI delivered tons of relief supplies and equipment to thousands of survivors in the immediate aftermath of the disaster.

Since then, OBI has provided many ongoing relief efforts including community support groups for survivors and microenterprise projects. One area of concerted efforts has been to help the Japanese fishing industry recover from the devastation, which wiped out thousands of boats and seaweed/oyster cultivation efforts. To help, OBI commissioned and distributed 30 new boats made specifically for Japanese fishermen, secured and distributed 60 used boats from around Japan that were donated to fishermen, and donated 20 industrial-grade electrical generators along with $650,000 worth of seaweed and oyster cultivation equipment to the Urato Islands, including anchors, rope, shells used for cultivating oysters, floats, nets, small trucks, and computers, to help get the oyster fishing industry there back in operation. Due to OBI’s swift action, the oystermen were able to harvest in the same year as the tsunami, a timeline that was unthinkable by most in the community. In recognition of this achievement, the Mayor of Shiogama City honored OBI for getting them back on their feet so quickly.

Operation Blessing Japan is registered as a Japanese non-profit (NPO) in Miyagi Prefecture. The organization’s headquarters are located in Sendai, with a second office in Tokyo. The organization will focus on three areas of activity:

  • “Remember Tohoku” – continued relief efforts in the Tohoku disaster zone including projects related to reviving the fishing industry, providing community support groups for survivors to share their stories and heal from the emotional damage caused by the disaster, and also an outreach in Fukushima Prefecture that will provide buses to transport children living there to areas that are safe for playing outdoors (due to high levels of radiation in Fukushima).
  • Contribute to Japan – OBJ seeks to also contribute to Japanese society and will be responding to humanitarian needs as they arise in other parts of Japan.
  • “Touch the World from Japan” – OBJ is launching a program to introduce OBI humanitarian projects around the world to the Japanese people, should they wish to support those efforts.

Bill Horan, president of Operation Blessing International, stated, “Operation Blessing International arrived in Japan to help in the aftermath of the 2011 disaster and we have been here ever since with a number of ongoing efforts. After these two years, the fact remains that the people of Tohoku still need help so that they may recover their livelihoods and become financially independent once again.”

Don Thomson, president of Operation Blessing Japan, stated, “Operation Blessing Japan is committed to helping the people of Japan as well as serving as a bridge to deliver the goodwill of the Japanese people to areas of need all around the world.”

For more information please visit www.ob.org or (in Japanese) www.objapan.org

ABOUT OPERATION BLESSING INTERNATIONAL:
Operation Blessing International (OBI) is one of the largest charities in America, providing strategic disaster relief, medical aid, hunger relief, clean water and community development in 23 countries around the world on a daily basis. Currently, Forbes ranks OBI as one of its “100 Largest Charities” with an efficiency rating of 99%, and Consumers Digest also named OBI as one of “America’s Top Charities” in 2012. Founded in 1978, Operation Blessing International has touched the lives of more than 255 million people in more than 105 countries and 50 states, providing goods and services valued at over $3.3 billion to date.

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CONTACT:
Chris Roslan
Roslan & Campion Public Relations
(212) 966-4600
chris@rc-pr.com

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September 24, 2013 - OBI RESPONDING TO FLOODS IN MEXICO

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VIRGINIA BEACH, VA (September 24, 2013) – In response to the recent disaster that hit Mexico, Operation Blessing International (OBI) and its team based in Mexico City are in Guerrero, the state hardest hit by flooding, providing food and supplies, health and medical personnel, water purification systems and clean-up crews, said Scott Hill, OBI’s Latin America director.

To date, more than 150 people are feared dead, an estimated 200,000 left without homes, tens of thousands of homes damaged, and some 60,000 people evacuated, as the result of two tropical storms that have wreaked-havoc on this country since mid-September. The storms hit both Mexico’s west and east coasts causing flooding and landslides. According to news reports, Mexico had not been hit simultaneously by two powerful storms like this since 1958.

Since arriving, OBI has secured and distributed the following:

Food and Supplies

— 4 mobile kitchens set-up that have initially provided 2350 hot meals over the past weekend
— 240 families, to date, have received food supply bags

Health and Medical

— An initial medical team in place, which treated 75 people over the weekend
— Four towns with a total of 1400 people have been treated for parasites due to infected water. OBI has donated 200,000 doses of anti-parasite medicine and is working with the local authorities to quickly distribute them.

Cleanup Teams

–A volunteer center has been set-up with a goal of mobilizing 10 cleanup teams, including a chain saw crew, a construction team, and two paint teams. The first team with a construction background arrived from Mexico City and is now deployed, helping victims.

Water Purification

— In Oaxaca, OBI is working with its partner, Water Missions International, to install four water purification units to the north where more than 14 communities and some 148,000 people are affected. Each unit can generate 10,000 gallons of potable water each day.

— One water purification unit is being installed in one of the hardest hit suburbs of Acapulco.

–Today, OBI deployed a staff member from Virginia Beach with two additional water purification devices. The first is a SAN6 chlorine generator that can produce enough food-grade chlorine (sodium hypochlorite) to disinfect over 300,000 gallons of water each day. The second device is a portable chlorine generator that is the size of a briefcase, can run off of a car battery, and can provide enough food-grade chlorine to disinfect 60,000 gallons of water a day. Once set up, OBI will be treating water wells and providing food grade chlorine to flood victims for the purpose of disinfecting water.

Here is a B-roll/photo link — Acapulco Flood Relief: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/7bdoig7hxzvggiy/eLaAnVhcqd

ABOUT OPERATION BLESSING INTERNATIONAL: Operation Blessing International (OBI) is one of the largest charities in America, providing strategic disaster relief, medical aid, hunger relief, clean water and community development in 23 countries around the world on a daily basis. Currently, Forbes ranks OBI as one of its “100 Largest Charities” with an efficiency rating of 99%, and Consumers Digest also named OBI as one of “America’s Top Charities” in 2012. Founded in 1978, Operation Blessing International has touched the lives of more than 255 million people in more than 105 countries and 50 states, providing goods and services valued at over $3.3 billion to date.

To see an electronic press kit of OBI’s work please visit: http://bwww.ob.org/global-impact/

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September 10, 2013 - OBI RESPONDS TO MALICIOUS MISSION CONGO ALLEGATIONS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

VIRGINIA BEACH, VA (September 10, 2013) – Operation Blessing International (OB) has issued the following statement in response to the malicious allegations in the film Mission Congo:

The premise of the so-called “documentary,” Mission Congo, is based on alleged events of almost 20 years ago. Indeed, the film relies heavily on reports from 1) one local newspaper whose reporter has never, to our knowledge, even stepped foot in the region in question, and 2) is also based on interviews with individuals who were either not directly involved with the charity’s operations or not aware of the intricacies of those operations.

We find it necessary to respond to not only the overall theme that Dr. Robertson somehow profited “on the back of a non-existent aid project,” as was erroneously reported in the media, but also to clear up specific falsehoods about Operation Blessing’s activities and other malicious and defamatory comments that have been made in the film by the filmmakers.

The following is a point-by-point refutation of some of the major misstatements in the movie and associated media reports:
-In Zaire, Operation Blessing was responsible for the medical needs of approximately 100,000 refugees from Rwanda. To launch this effort, Dr. Robertson personally paid to charter a DC8 airplane to ship 80,000 pounds of medicine to Goma. Over the following year, additional shipments of medicines and medical equipment were sent elsewhere in the country including one shipment with 12 tons of medicine that was donated to the government of Zaire on May 17, 1995.

-Operation Blessing’s relief efforts at the time were under the supervision of Bob Fanning, a retired U.S. Air Force Colonel who served as Executive Vice President and CEO of the organization. He personally oversaw the medical shipments and the teams of doctors and other medical staff in Zaire during this crisis. Without question, the work of OB in Zaire was exemplary and resulted in the relief of much human suffering.

-Jessie Potts, who was oddly referenced in the film as being the “operations manager for Robertson in Goma in 1994,” was not an employee of Operation Blessing. Our records indicate he was a volunteer, and only for a short time.

-Mr. Potts’ quote about the medications that OB provided as not being useful (“too much Tylenol”) is completely unfounded. OB records confirm that hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of emergency medicines (including many different varieties of antibiotics, anti-malarial drugs, anti-diarrheal medications, oral rehydration salts) along with other medical equipment (intravenous equipment, x-ray machines, lab equipment, bandages, forceps, syringes, etc) were flown into the country by Operation Blessing on multiple occasions. Interestingly, OB records do not show any Tylenol being sent by the organization.

-A further allegation claims that Operation Blessing only had one tent and seven doctors on the ground in Goma. In fact, the organization sent at least six medical relief teams to Goma between July and December 1994. The medical relief teams ranged in size from approximately seven to seventeen persons and included doctors, nurses and paramedics. The first team arrived in Goma on July 24, 1994. On the same day, OB arranged for 66,000 pounds of medicine and supplies to arrive in Goma on an aircraft it had chartered from Amsterdam.

-Regarding school and farm in Dumi that were originally built by Operation Blessing, they are both thriving today. When Operation Blessing left the country in 1997 due to political unrest and violence, the school and farm were given to the National Baptist Community (CBCO). CBCO operated both of these until another American relief organization took over operation in 2008.

-Under its new operators, the school now has many new upgrades including solar powered lighting, new paint and repaired furniture. It currently has over 100 students registered for the fall term. This was confirmed this week by Jon Cassel, CBN’s director of French African operations who was on the ground in Zaire with Operation Blessing in the 1990s and has returned multiple times to meet with the current operators.

-The farm is also thriving today, although it did struggle the first several years due to the learning curve involved with cultivation in Africa. Today, more than 1250 acres are under cultivation and its produce helps to feed many families in the area. The farm and the school, first founded by Operation Blessing, are a permanent legacy of the organization’s work in the region.

-While Operation Blessing partners with other aid groups on humanitarian efforts all around the world on a daily basis, we are not aware of any instance in which we made use of another organization’s photos or videos without accompanying explanation. In fact, due to its affiliation with CBN, Operation Blessing always travels with its own cameras and would have no reason to use someone else’s videos.

-Roughly twenty years ago, Operation Blessing purchased three World War II used airplanes for aid relief in Africa. A short time later, a personal business entity of Dr. Robertson’s called the African Development Corporation (ADC), bought one of the planes from OB for full market value and the price paid by OB. All three planes were shipped across the Atlantic to the Congo. In addition to paying for all the operating expenses for the ADC flights, Dr. Robertson made substantial contributions from personal funds to help OB cover the costs of its flight operations in Zaire.

-The planes turned out to be unreliable, were constantly breaking down and it became difficult to secure spare parts for them. So the missions were occasionally overlapped using whatever plane(s) was/were working. The ADC plane was partly used to haul humanitarian supplies for OB, while the OB planes were partly used to haul freight for ADC. All usage of the OB planes for ADC purposes was fully paid for by ADC.

-Robert Hinkle, referred to in the film as being “the chief pilot for Operation Blessing” in Zaire in 1994, never worked for Operation Blessing.

-When the planes did not work out as expected, Dr. Robertson personally donated $400,000 to OB to cover its costs of acquiring the two airplanes. -The total take in the diamond mining operation was exactly one stone weighing about an eighth of a
carat. The effort was a total failure and was abandoned, with Dr. Robertson donating the equipment to the African church that owned the river concession. The operations of ADC resulted in a substantial personal financial loss to Dr. Robertson. Media reports suggesting that Dr. Robertson “enriched” himself by diamond mining are grossly false. -The Virginia Attorney General’s office conducted an exhaustive study of Bill Sizemore’s allegations and found no evidence of wrongdoing by Pat Robertson or Operation Blessing. The report was jointly signed by four Deputy and Assistant’ Attorneys General. Click here to read the Attorney General’s Report. Click here for the Commonwealth of Virginia Letter to the Va. Pilot.

-As for “fraudulent and deceptive statements” attributed to Dr. Robertson by the Virginian Pilot, the Attorney General found that of all the references to the Congo activities on The 700 Club, there was one instance of an inaccurate statement, but it was deemed as inadvertent and no funds were raised based on this statement. Further, a letter* written by the Commissioner of the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Service of the Commonwealth of Virginia to the Editor of the Virginian Pilot, dated July 21, 1999, scolded that newspaper for its “inaccurate” reporting of the story. The Commissioner expressly agreed with the Attorney General’s findings, saying, “Anyone who has read both reports will conclude that the state’s lawyers checked out the issues thoroughly and applied the facts to the law. I am satisfied with their conclusion that there was no evidence of intent to defraud.”

-The allegations stemming from the Virginian Pilot were also brought to the attention of the Internal Revenue Service, which examined the facts and took no action.

-As for allegations that authorities chose not to prosecute because of campaign donations made by Dr. Robertson, those are ridiculous and completely without merit. Multiple assistant Attorneys General reviewed the matter and the 38-page report was signed by the Chief Deputy Attorney General, the Deputy Attorney General, the Senior Assistant Attorney General, and the Assistant Attorney General, none of whom received any donation from Dr. Robertson or Operation Blessing.

The fact remains that Operation Blessing has grown into one of the largest charities in America. Founded by Dr. Robertson in 1978, the organization continues to provide strategic disaster relief, medical aid, hunger relief, clean water and community development in 23 countries around the world on a daily basis. Currently, Forbes ranks OBI as one of its “100 Largest Charities” with an efficiency rating of 99%, and Consumers Digest also named OBI as one of “America’s Top Charities” in 2012. For seven years in a row (2005-2011), OBI was awarded Charity Navigator’s coveted 4 star rating for sound fiscal management, a feat that only 2% of rated charities have ever achieved. Operation Blessing International has touched the lives of more than 255 million people in more than 105 countries and 50 states, providing goods and services valued at over $3.3 billion to date.

To see an electronic press kit of OBI’s work please visit: http://www.ob.org/global-impact/
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CONTACT:
Chris Roslan
Spokesperson for Operation Blessing International
(212) 966-4600
chris@rc-pr.com

May 21, 2013 - OBI DEPLOYING DISASTER RELIEF TEAM TO OKLAHOMA

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Operation Blessing International Deploying Disaster Relief Team To Moore, Oklahoma

VIRGINIA BEACH, VA (May 21, 2013) – The domestic disaster relief team from Operation Blessing International (OBI), one of the largest humanitarian organizations in America, is deploying to Moore, Oklahoma, where a massive tornado struck yesterday.

Late last night, an advance team led by Jody Herrington-Gettys, director of U.S. disaster relief for Operation Blessing International, deployed from Granbury, Texas where they had been helping with tornado relief following last week’s storm there. OBI coordinated more than 500 volunteers in that effort including many from longtime partner, The Home Depot.

A caravan of OBI emergency equipment is currently en route to Moore, including a construction unit, mobile command center, trucks full of tools and supplies, and a team of construction foremen. The caravan is expected to arrive by noon local time.

Bill Horan, president of OBI, departed from Norfolk early today and will be meeting with local emergency management officials and partner agencies to begin the coordination of relief efforts.

To donate to the relief effort or for updates on the response, please visit www.ob.org

ABOUT OPERATION BLESSING INTERNATIONAL: Operation Blessing International (OBI) is one of the largest charities in America, providing strategic disaster relief, medical aid, hunger relief, clean water and community development in 23 countries around the world on a daily basis. Currently, Forbes ranks OBI as one of its “100 Largest Charities” with an efficiency rating of 99%, and Consumers Digest also named OBI as one of “America’s Top Charities” in 2012. Founded in 1978, Operation Blessing International has touched the lives of more than 255 million people in more than 105 countries and 50 states, providing goods and services valued at over $3.3 billion to date.

To see an electronic press kit of OBI’s work please visit: https://vimeo.com/57154374

CONTACT:
Chris Roslan
Roslan & Campion Public Relations
(212) 966-4600
chris@rc-pr.com

May 1, 2013 - CHARITY EVENT IN NORFOLK TO HELP HUNDREDS OF LOCAL FAMILIES

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“Compassion 2013″ Charity Event In Norfolk To Help Hundreds Of Local Families With Free Groceries, Health Screenings And More

NORFOLK, VA (May 1, 2013) – On Saturday, May 18 (9:00am-Noon), a charity event called “Compassion 2013: Satisfying the Hungry” will help hundreds of Norfolk families in need.

Presented by The Storehouse, a community food pantry run by The New Life Christian Center (3921 Pleasant Ave, Norfolk), and sponsored by Operation Blessing International and Bon Secours Virginia Health System, the event will provide free groceries to families in need, health screenings, cooking demos and more.

For the event, Virginia Beach-based humanitarian organization Operation Blessing International (OBI) will provide 10,000 pounds of groceries – enough to feed hundreds of families — including canned vegetables, meats and sauces, cereal, granola bars, oatmeal, drinks and dried beans. OBI will also have its mobile kitchen onsite and will be providing meals and free cooking demonstrations to those in attendance.

Bon Secours Health System will also be onsite at The Storehouse, providing free healthcare screenings including blood pressure, body mass index, body fat, waist circumference for adults and pulse, respiration, blood pressure, height and weight for children.
“Compassion 2013” will mark roughly three years since Operation Blessing International and the Bon Secours Virginia Health System collaborated to revitalize, rebuild and expand the Storehouse after it was severely damaged by a 2009 Nor’easter.

Following the storm, Operation Blessing International and the Bon Secours Healthy Communities Initiative led the construction effort and coordinated volunteer management to expand the structure from 600 square feet to over 1,000 square feet, and also installed a renovated kitchen, a new deck and a renovated playground. In addition to construction and volunteer management, OBI supported the effort by filling the pantry with more than 40,000 lbs of food, providing a $10,000 donation, and adding The Storehouse to Operation Blessing International’s Hunger Strike Force to receive ongoing deliveries.

The East Ocean View section of Norfolk was selected to be the first community in which Bon Secours would establish the Bon Secours Healthy Communities Initiative. The primary goal of the outreach effort is to work alongside leaders to improve the overall health of the community.

“At Bon Secours our mission is to bring good help to those in need. We know that good help extends much further than providing access to exceptional health care,” said Michael K. Kerner, CEO, Bon Secours Hampton Roads Health System. “Good help also means working alongside others to impact positive changes and improve the overall health of our community. Our partnership with organizations like Operation Blessing, New Life Christian Center, Ocean View Medical and Dental Center, and others in the East Ocean View community is an excellent example of how focused collaboration can make a positive impact for those we serve.”
Bon Secours Healthy Communities has also helped to make many positive changes like the Storehouse program, the development of a community garden to encourage healthy nutrition, neighborhood beautification projects and supporting local sports activities for local youth.

The Storehouse is one of Operation Blessing’s many efforts to help feed the local and regional community. Since March 2012, the charity has provided more than 1 million pounds of food and relief aid to 35 ministry partners helping Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Chesapeake, Portsmouth, Suffolk, Hampton and Newport News; the 7 cities that make up Hampton Roads VA. In addition, Operation Blessing also distributed more than 2 million additional pounds of food and relief aid to ministry partners throughout the rest of the state of Virginia during this same time period.

“Operation Blessing helps people in more than 20 countries each year, but we also help tens of thousands of people in our own hometown of Virginia Beach,” said Bill Horan, president of Operation Blessing International. “The Storehouse has been one such story, and a huge help in easing the burden of providing food for many local families.”

ABOUT OPERATION BLESSING INTERNATIONAL:
Operation Blessing International (OBI) is one of the largest charities in America, providing strategic disaster relief, medical aid, hunger relief, clean water and community development in 23 countries around the world on a daily basis. Currently, Forbes ranks OBI as one of its “100 Largest Charities” with an efficiency rating of 99%, and Consumers Digest also named OBI as one of “America’s Top Charities” in 2012. Founded in 1978, Operation Blessing International has touched the lives of more than 255 million people in more than 105 countries and 50 states, providing goods and services valued at over $3.3 billion to date.

To see an electronic press kit of OBI’s work please visit: https://vimeo.com/57154374
For more information on OB, please visit: www.ob.org

About Bon Secours Virginia Health System
Bon Secours Virginia Health System (BSV), the fourth-largest and only faith-based health system in Virginia, is comprised of Bon Secours Richmond and Bon Secours Hampton Roads. BSV includes seven award-winning hospitals: four in Richmond and three in Hampton Roads. Bon Secours brings together an expanding network of hospitals, primary care practices, ambulatory care sites and continuing care facilities to provide high-quality health care and wellness services to thousands of Virginians. The not-for-profit Catholic health system employs nearly 12,000 people. Bon Secours Virginia hospitals offer a full range of services, including cardiac, women’s, children’s, orthopaedics, emergency services, oncology, neurosciences and surgery.
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CONTACT:

Chris Roslan
Roslan & Campion Public Relations
(212) 966-4600
chris@rc-pr.com

April 25, 2013 - OB LENDING A HAND IN NEW HOSPITAL OPENING IN HAITI

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Virginia Beach-Based Humanitarian Organization Drilled Wells, Facilitated Donation of Water Disinfection/Filtration System With Partner, Severn Trent Services

VIRGINIA BEACH, VA (April 25, 2013) – Global humanitarian organization Operation Blessing International (OBI) is playing a role in the opening of an important new teaching hospital in Haiti that will fill a huge void for Haitians who previously had limited access to quality health care.

The Hôpital Universitaire de Mirebalais (HUM), in Mirebalais, Haiti, created by Partners In Health, will host a Celebration of Partnership event on April 28 to recognize the generous contributions of its partner organizations to the construction of the new hospital. The 205,000-square foot, 300-bed facility will provide primary care services to about 185,000 people in Mirebalais and two nearby communities. But patients from a much wider area—all of central Haiti and areas in and around Port-au-Prince—also will be able to receive secondary and tertiary care.

In addition to providing healthcare services, HUM will also provide high-quality education for the next generation of Haitian nurses, medical students, and resident physicians.

For the hospital, Operation Blessing International, who first came to Haiti in 2009 at the request of Partners In Health, has drilled five water wells including the primary hospital well (8″ x 300′) and backup (6″ x 200′), an off-site well for hospital staff housing (4″ x 200′), and at the request of Partners In Health, two community wells (4″ x 100′) for public use. While the primary well was being drilled, OBI also funded construction of the hospital’s cistern and delivered several truckloads of water every day for over a month.

In addition to the wells and water delivery, OBI also facilitated the donation of a water disinfection/filtration system through the charity’s longtime partner, Severn Trent Services. The system is capable of producing up to six pounds of sodium hypochlorite per day, which can disinfect some 165,000 gallons of water daily for the hospital. The system also will filter the water to ensure it is free of any particulate.

OBI shipped the materials for the water system to Haiti, received them in the OBI Port-au-Prince warehouse and transported them to Mirebalais for the installation. OBI staff worked together with a Severn Trent technician to install and commission the system. OBI continues to provide technical support and maintenance for the water system, and will continue to do so to ensure the hospital has water available at every tap that meets the US standards for water quality.

“When Paul Farmer and Partners In Health asked if Operation Blessing would help to provide clean water for the new hospital, we jumped at the chance to help our longtime friend,” said Bill Horan, president of Operation Blessing International. “We are also grateful to our friends at Trent Severn Services, who graciously donated a water system that will disinfect and filter the water from the wells and supply the entire hospital.”

Operation Blessing first came to Haiti in the fall of 2009 in order to assist Partners In Health (Zanmi Lasante) in providing running potable water at their network of 12 hospitals.

When the earthquake struck in January 2010, OBI deployed its first-response disaster relief team. OBI partnered with IsraAID to run an emergency medical facility that helped thousands, OBI installed water purification equipment all around the city, and delivered hundreds of tons of relief supplies, transported to Haiti via the US Navy, for months after the disaster. The OBI team also responded to the subsequent cholera outbreak, providing life saving water purification equipment to the hard-hit areas.
Since the quake, OBI continues to work on many ongoing projects in Haiti, including operating the Zanmi Beni home for children with disabilities in partnership with Partners In Health, hosting medical teams from the Mayo Clinic regularly, installing and operating a major fish farming operation that provides jobs to Haitians and much needed protein to the children at Zanmi Beni and other children’s homes, installing clean water systems at the St. Damien’s Children’s Hospital and helping to fund a cholera treatment center there, partnering with Greif and the Clinton Foundation to install rainwater catchment systems and to build a school in villages surrounding Lake Azuei, and many more.

For more information on Operation Blessing please visit: www.ob.org

For more information about Hôpital Universitaire de Mirebalais (HUM), please visit the Partners In Health website: www.pih.org

ABOUT OPERATION BLESSING INTERNATIONAL:
Operation Blessing International (OBI) is one of the largest charities in America, providing strategic disaster relief, medical aid, hunger relief, clean water and community development in 23 countries around the world on a daily basis. Currently, Forbes ranks OBI as one of its “100 Largest Charities” with an efficiency rating of 99%, and Consumers Digest also named OBI as one of “America’s Top Charities” in 2012. Founded in 1978, Operation Blessing International has touched the lives of more than 255 million people in more than 105 countries and 50 states, providing goods and services valued at over $3.3 billion to date.

ABOUT PARTNERS IN HEALTH:
PIH is a global health organization relentlessly committed to improving the health of the poor and marginalized. We build local capacity and work closely with impoverished communities to deliver high quality health care, address the root causes of illness, train providers, advance research and advocate for global policy change. Ninety-three percent of the funds we raise go to our programs in the ten countries where we work, including Haiti, Rwanda, Russia, Peru and the United States.
To see an electronic press kit of OBI’s work please visit:
https://vimeo.com/57154374

# # #

CONTACT:
Chris Roslan
Roslan & Campion Public Relations
(212) 966-4600
chris@rc-pr.com

April 8, 2013 - 7-DAY FAMILY DISASTER PLANNING GUIDE

Click here to download PDF

With Spring Warm-up Expected To Jump-Start Tornado Season, Operation Blessing International Offers Free
7-Day Family Disaster Planning Guide

VIRGINIA BEACH, VA (April 8, 2013) – The U.S. Disaster Relief team of the global humanitarian organization, Operation Blessing International (OBI), has published a free 7-Day Family Disaster Planning Guide to help families prepare for the onset of peak tornado season and other disasters.

Historically, March marks the beginning of the peak tornado season in the USA. However, due to much colder temperatures than normal this winter, there were only 17 tornadoes in the month of March, the lowest in 35 years. In 2012, for example, there were 154 tornadoes in March.

But with the return of warm temperatures now in place, forecasters are calling for an increase in the likelihood of tornado activity in the coming weeks.

Operation Blessing International’s free 7-Day Family Disaster Planning Guide is available for downloading at www.ob.org. Originally created for OBI’s “Prepared Kids” instructional program for school children, the guide will help families “Plan, Prepare and Protect” against the threat posed by tornadoes, hurricanes or other disasters.

The guide is divided into seven daily steps, including gathering critical documents (insurance info, medication list, birth certificates, contact info, etc), preparing and organizing a “family emergency go-kit” (non-perishable foods, water, flashlight, first aid kit, toiletries, etc), preparing shopping lists, practicing the plan, and even suggesting fun activities to keep young family members occupied during or after a storm (board games, books, crafts, etc).

OBI’s U.S. Disaster Relief team responds to dozens of disasters each year, including recent tornadoes in Joplin, Illinois, Alabama and Dallas, hurricanes’ Isaac, Irene, Katrina, and most recently, OBI spent four months helping thousands of residents recover from the devastation of Hurricane Sandy in Breezy Point, NY, the Lower East Side of Manhattan, Coney Island, Staten Island and coastal New Jersey. Normally arriving on site within 24-hours of a disaster, the OBI team provides thousands of hot meals, delivers tens of thousands of pounds of supplies with its fleet of semi trucks, coordinates hundreds of volunteers, provides specialized heavy equipment for debris removal.

“In our experience responding to dozens of disasters each year, we see firsthand that most families are just not prepared,” says Jody Herrington-Gettys, director of U.S. Disaster Relief. “The result is frequently stress and grief, trying to cope with the situation at hand. However, if your family would commit to investing just two hours a day for one week, you can help to prepare them for most any disaster and to create a family tradition of preparedness that can be passed down for generations to come.”
Download Operation Blessing International’s 7-Day Family Disaster Planning Guide at www.ob.org.

ABOUT OPERATION BLESSING INTERNATIONAL:
Operation Blessing International (OBI) is one of the largest charities in America, providing strategic disaster relief, medical aid, hunger relief, clean water and community development in 23 countries around the world on a daily basis. Currently, Forbes ranks OBI as one of its “100 Largest Charities” with an efficiency rating of 99%, and Consumers Digest also named OBI as one of “America’s Top Charities” in 2012. Founded in 1978, Operation Blessing International has touched the lives of more than 255 million people in more than 105 countries and 50 states, providing goods and services valued at over $3.3 billion to date.

To see an electronic press kit of OBI’s work please visit: https://vimeo.com/57154374

# # #

Operation Blessing International’s Top 5 Tornado Safety Tips
From Jody Herrington-Gettys, Director, US Disaster Relief
1. Heed tornado warnings – when a warning is posted, that should trigger your family to take cover
2. Designate a “safe room” in your home or nearby location – go there if a tornado warning is issued
3. Prepare a “family emergency go-kit” — with enough food, water and supplies to sustain your family for at least 3-5 days.
4. Make sure all of your important documents are kept in one place in a waterproof container or bag (birth and marriage certificates, home and vehicle insurance policies, prescriptions, medical cards, and photo IDs/Passports)
5. Keep your medications close — have duplicate copies of your prescriptions in your go-kit.

# # #

For more information or to schedule an interview with Jody Herrington-Gettys, please contact:
Chris Roslan
Roslan & Campion Public Relations
(212) 966-4600
chris@rc-pr.com

March 6, 2013 - OBI AND SAP GROUP TO DELIVER MORE BOATS TO JAPANESE FISHERMEN

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On Second Anniversary Of Japan Quake/Tsunami, Operation Blessing International And SAP Group To Deliver More Boats To Japanese Fishermen

Intl. Effort To Help Out-Of-Work Fishermen Includes USA, Germany, Singapore, China, Japan

Custom Made Boats To Be Presented On March 10, 2013 In Shiogama, Miyagi Prefecture, Japan

VIRGINIA BEACH, VA (March 6, 2013) -– Operation Blessing International (OBI) and SAP AG, the world leader in enterprise application software, will present six new and four used fishing boats to Japanese fishermen whose livelihoods were ruined in the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

The six custom-made, new boats were commissioned last December by OBI as part of the Virginia Beach-based organization’s ongoing efforts to help Japanese fishing communities devastated by the disaster. The 23-foot-long boats were built by a Chinese boat-maker in Henan Province, and the project was funded by a generous donation from SAP APJ (Asia Pacific Japan) in Singapore, through SAP Japan’s Tohoku Earthquake Aid and Relief Strategy (TEARS) humanitarian program.

SAP Japan’s CSR TEARS (Tohoku Earthquake Aid and Relief Strategy) team and OBI staff will officially present the new mini-fleet to fishermen in ceremonies on March 10 at the Koshinoura Fishing Harbor, facing the beautiful and picturesque Matsushima Bay (considered to be one of the top three beauty spots in Japan) in Shiogama, Miyagi Prefecture, Japan, the day before the two-year anniversary of the disaster.

Tomitaro Anzai, President of SAP Japan commented, “It is a great pleasure for us that we could be of some help to the recovery efforts in the disaster-hit area through TEARS, our volunteer project. Last year, together with Operation Blessing, we donated some boats to Sanriku coastal area in Miyagi, and this time in addition, we are able to donate the boats to Shiogama city, in Miyagi. We will continue these efforts consistently to support recovery efforts as much as possible.”

“We are so thankful for SAP’s continued generous sponsorship of OBI’s fishing boat program,” said Bill Horan, OBI president. “There remains a tremendous need for fishing boats here because Japanese boat builders are still overwhelmed, two years after the disaster. The delivery of these ten boats will mean a lot to this entire community,” said Horan.

OBI is committed to help multiple fishing communities, as thousands of boats were lost in the tsunami. Following this presentation, OBI will have purchased and provided 20 new boats made in the U.S., 10 new boats made in China and 61 used boats sourced within Japan, since the disaster.

In other projects helping the fishing community, OBI provided laptop computers to the JF Miyagi Fisheries Cooperative, for the fishermen to reach out to the nation via their own website. Since the project’s launch, the cooperative received orders worth several million dollars for seafood that have already been delivered all over Japan. OBI also provided $650,000 worth of seaweed and oyster cultivation equipment to the Urato Islands, which are famous for oysters, including anchors, rope, shells used for cultivating oysters, floats, nets, small trucks, and computers. Due to OBI’s swift action, the oystermen were able to harvest in the same year as the tsunami, a timeline that was unthinkable by most in the community. In recognition of this achievement, the Mayor of Shiogama City honored OBI for getting them back on their feet so quickly.

One of the first relief organizations on the ground in Japan, arriving hours after the earthquake struck, OBI has delivered tons of relief supplies and equipment to tens of thousands of survivors through the charity’s Tohoku Operations Center in Tomiya, north of Sendai, Japan.

For more information log on to: www.ob.org. In Japanese, go to: www.objapan.org.

ABOUT OPERATION BLESSING INTERNATIONAL:
Operation Blessing International (OBI) is one of the largest charities in America, providing strategic disaster relief, medical aid, hunger relief, clean water and community development in 23 countries around the world on a daily basis. Currently, Forbes ranks OBI as one of its “100 Largest Charities” with an efficiency rating of 99%, and Consumers Digest also named OBI as one of “America’s Top Charities” in 2012. Founded in 1978, Operation Blessing International has touched the lives of more than 255 million people in more than 105 countries and 50 states, providing goods and services valued at over $3.3 billion to date.

To see an electronic press kit of OBI’s work please visit: https://vimeo.com/57154374

ABOUT SAP: As market leader in enterprise application software, SAP (NYSE: SAP) helps companies of all sizes and industries run better. From back office to boardroom, warehouse to storefront, desktop to mobile device – SAP empowers people and organizations to work together more efficiently and use business insight more effectively to stay ahead of the competition. SAP applications and services enable more than 232,000 customers (includes customers from the acquisition of Sybase) to operate profitably, adapt continuously, and grow sustainably. For more information, visit www.sap.com <http://www.sap.com>

CONTACT:
Chris Roslan
Roslan & Campion Public Relations Inc
(212) 966-4600
chris@rc-pr.com

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