Last night, tornadoes devastated central Arkansas, and unfortunately, it’s a familiar sight for those of us who remember how Vilonia, Ark., was ravaged by a tornado only three years ago. When disasters happen, it hits home for us because Walmart is in so many towns, and so closely connected to every community we serve.
We, as individual associates and members of the community, want to do everything we can to help our fellow associates and customers. So last night, Walmart associates immediately took action, donating supplies to first responders. Within an hour of the storms, stores in Conway, Beebe and Maumelle donated flashlights, batteries, tarps, snacks and anything else needed to help with search and rescue efforts.
Kevin Stephens, store manager in Conway, loaded his personal truck with water and supplies to take to the devastated areas this morning. Several other associates followed his lead by bringing aid to the damaged communities in Mayflower and Vilonia until Walmart trucks could arrive this afternoon with bottled water from the Walmart Foundation.
Yesterday’s storm system directly impacted many of our associates, not only in Arkansas, but also in Kansas and Oklahoma. We know of at least 10 who have lost their homes or their vehicles, some sustained injuries, and there are 12 associates in Vilonia that we’re still trying to make contact with. To make sure everyone is accounted for, we are personally going to their homes to check on them.
When something like
this happens, we do whatever we can to support associates who are in need. Tornadoes
usually leave little behind, so we make sure they have clothing, food, and a
place to stay as they work to rebuild their lives. We take care of our own, but
we’re also working to take care of our neighbors and customers. I’m proud of my
team for taking action when it was needed most, and proud of my company for
consistently stepping in to help during times like these.