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Video Recap of Our Travels to the Gulf Coast

In early December, a team of our BlueMountain.com employees partnered with United Way and traveled to Bayou La Batre, Alabama in hopes of bringing Christmas joy to the families affected by the BP Oil Spill. Using conributions from fundraisers, we raised enough money to throw a joyful and memorable Christmas celebration for 60 wonderful guest-of-honor families!  Bayou La Batre, thanks for welcoming us with open arms, sharing your stories and touching out lives.  You’ve provided us amazing memories we won’t soon forget!

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ROorDIPU0Rs]

Video Recap of Our Travels to the Gulf CoastVideo Recap of Our Travels to the Gulf CoastVideo Recap of Our Travels to the Gulf CoastVideo Recap of Our Travels to the Gulf CoastVideo Recap of Our Travels to the Gulf CoastVideo Recap of Our Travels to the Gulf Coast

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BlueMountain.com Visits Bayou La Batre, Alabama

BlueMountain.com Visits Bayou La Batre, AlabamaTwo days prior to our trip, there was an odd sense of peace that overtook the group.  We still had camera equipment to prep, gifts to buy, presents to wrap, crafts to set up, and a hall to decorate.  But despite all of this, there was peace.  This was a tremendous precursor to what laid ahead.

Friday morning came faster than expected.  Before we knew it, we were on a plane to Alabama – it’s really happening!

BlueMountain.com Visits Bayou La Batre, AlabamaAt 11:30 a.m. we arrived at the Mobile airport, and after dropping our bags off at the hotel, we needed to make a quick stop at the United Way of Southwest Alabama.  It was time to finally meet the team that diligently helped us for so many months!BlueMountain.com Visits Bayou La Batre, Alabama

After loading up the vans at United Way with presents, crafts, and decorations, we drove 45 minutes to the small coastal town of Bayou La Batre.

Once there, we met David and Grace from Boat People SOS – a community-based organization whose mission it is to help the numerous families devastated by the Gulf Oil Spill.

We unloaded the vans as quickly as we possibly could!  After that, we eagerly jumped back on the road to catch a glimpse of the Bayou before sundown.  David and a few of his friends from Boat People SOS walked us through the havoc wreaked upon this once thriving Alabama town.  First Hurricane Katrina, and now this.  What more could Bayou La Batre endure?

BlueMountain.com Visits Bayou La Batre, AlabamaFrom inside the vans, we could see water in the distance.  As we started our way across the draw bridge, everything was somber.  There were abandoned ships, closed boat making facilities, and closed oyster and shrimp cleaning shops.  The Bayou was a ghost town.  The devastation that we heard so much about was now staring us in the face: sixty percent of families without jobs and nowhere to go…


The next 24 hours were a blur- we were setting up and decorating the hall, gift wrapping presents, prepping the craft stations, setting up Christmas movies to play on a big screen, and making sure Christmas music could be heard by all.  By midnight on Friday, we were almost completely set up.  Exhausted and emotionally drained (but excited at the same time!), we drove back to our hotel in Mobile to get a few hours of rest before Saturday’s event.

BlueMountain.com Visits Bayou La Batre, Alabama
7:00 a.m. came bright and early. Time to regroup with the team for breakfast (we’d need it!) and to go over the final details of the event!  Craft tutorials, last minute purchases, snack table setup, and photo station prep…

At 2:00 p.m. the event started.  Needless to say, everything couldn’t have gone more perfectly.  We had a blast helping the kids make soap snow balls, edible Christmas trees, Christmas angel ornaments, and greeting cards.  We’re pretty sure the kids enjoyed it too BlueMountain.com Visits Bayou La Batre, Alabama

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Dinner was delicious, Santa was merry, family photos came out great, presents were well received, and fun was had by all – the holiday party was a major success!  And the best part, we got to hear some amazingly touching stories of heartache and triumph from many hard working Alabama boating families.

Thank you for following us through this uplifting experience – and stay tuned for great video clips from the entire trip!

BlueMountain.com Visits Bayou La Batre, AlabamaBlueMountain.com Visits Bayou La Batre, AlabamaBlueMountain.com Visits Bayou La Batre, AlabamaBlueMountain.com Visits Bayou La Batre, AlabamaBlueMountain.com Visits Bayou La Batre, AlabamaBlueMountain.com Visits Bayou La Batre, Alabama

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Follow the BlueMountain Oil Spill Response Team LIVE!

Follow the BlueMountain Oil Spill Response Team LIVE!

Blue Mountain Blog

The BlueMountain.com Oil Spill Response team leaves for Bayou La Batre, Alabama Friday morning.  Follow the team LIVE as they spread a little Christmas joy to families of Bayou La Batre!

Once an hour, the team will be posting an update on what they’re doing, what they’re seeing, who they’re with, and more!  If you look at the top right of the blog, you will see a “Follow us in Alabama” link.  Under this, you will be able to read the most recent updates the team is posting via Twitter.

Follow the BlueMountain Oil Spill Response Team LIVE!

If you would like to read more, you can click through the link to go to the team’s Twitter page to see all the posts.

Come along for the experience – it will be a Merry one!

Follow the BlueMountain Oil Spill Response Team LIVE!Follow the BlueMountain Oil Spill Response Team LIVE!Follow the BlueMountain Oil Spill Response Team LIVE!Follow the BlueMountain Oil Spill Response Team LIVE!Follow the BlueMountain Oil Spill Response Team LIVE!Follow the BlueMountain Oil Spill Response Team LIVE!

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Oil Spill Response Team

We present to you the “Blue Mountain Oil Spill Response Team” !

We asked each team member 3 questions:

  1. Why did you get involved with the oil spill response project?
  2. What is your Christmas wish for the city of Bayou La Batre, Alabama?
  3. What’s your favorite thing to do at Christmas/the Holidays?

PATTY PRICE

Oil Spill Response TeamI’m Patty Price and I’m from Strongsville, Ohio.

Why?: There are many, many reasons I became involved with the oil spill response project.  I always wanted to make a positive impact in the world somehow, and this is definitely my biggest opportunity yet!

Your wish?: My Christmas wish for Bayou La Batre is that they see many things positive come from something so negative – and in hoping that our help is not the first or the last of those.

Favorite Christmas activity?: My favorite thing to do at Christmas is sit around the kitchen table with my family and eat an amazing home cooked brunch.

KIMBERLY GILCHRIST

Oil Spill Response Team

I work in the Marketing Department here at BlueMountian.com and I enjoy practicing yoga, trying new and fun restaurants, and spending lots of time with friends and family.

Why?: I got involved simply because I wanted to help the families affected by the oil spill. The Gulf Oil Spill has affected, and will continue to affect, so many families and businesses and I’m so happy to be part of the oil spill response project.

Your wish?: I wish for Happiness and lots of smiles!

Favorite Christmas activity?: I love to make homemade pasta with my family (and then eat lots of it of course!)

GEORGE DAVIS

Oil Spill Response Team

I’m a native of Chicago and a lover of people…and a hater of oil! (just kidding)

Why?: The oil spill was a true tragedy for the Gulf Coast and the surrounding regions. When presented with the opportunity to go and possibly make a difference, possibly put on a smile on someone’s face, I couldn’t refuse.

Your wish?: My wish for the city is continued growth, progress, and prosperity. I wish they become an even stronger city than they were before the tragedy.

Favorite Christmas activity?: My favorite part of the Holidays is spending time with family. I don’t get to see them often, so anytime together is a great time.

DAVID NOYES

Oil Spill Response Team

I’m a web developer at American Greetings. In my spare time, I ensure far off planets have the benefit of stuffed animals and waffles.

Why?: Several months back, the notion of wanting to reach out hit me like lightning on the way to work. I felt it so strongly that I had to put the idea out there.

Your wish?: My wish is that Bayou La Batre knows there are people who care, and that they’re not alone… and that people are willing to extend a hand.

Favorite Christmas activity?: I love watching the snow fall at night with nothing but Christmas lights or candles lighting the room. I also love the Christmas Eve candlelight service. Setting up and then karate kicking snowmen is pretty cool  too.

PENNY ADAMS

Oil Spill Response TeamPenny is a nature photographer from Tennessee who enjoys taking photos in the great outdoors and playing soccer.

Why?: Volunteering is in my blood and making a difference feeds the soul. I’m a big believer that giving is far more rewarding than receiving. I really appreciate the opportunity to help those affected by the oil tragedy directly.

Your wish?: I wish that after this terrible tragedy, despite all obstacles, the members of the community continue to keep the spirit of Christmas in their hearts all year long.

Favorite Christmas activity?: I really enjoy the light displays around town with my family and of course eat lots of Southern cooking.

JAMES ROWE

Oil Spill Response Team

I’m a programmer, amateur music producer/rapper who enjoys being a Geek.

Why?: I want to help others. If everyone lived to help others then the world would be a better place.

Your wish?: Hope, Peace, and Prosperity.

Favorite Christmas activity?: I love finding something worthy (of being given this life to live) to do.… last year I adopted a cat from the local animal shelter.

KIER SELINSKY

Oil Spill Response Team

I am a father, husband, and outdoorsman.

Why?: I got involved because I’m an environmentalist and a humanitarian.

Your wish?: In addition to a speedy economic recovery, the events of this year create a previously unforeseen opportunity for prosperity for the people of Bayou La Batre and the Gulf Coast.

Favorite Christmas activity?: Volunteering.

NOHA YOUSSEF

Oil Spill Response Team

I’m a 25 year old Marketing Interactive Coordinator. When I’m not at work, I enjoy my time the most when spent with family and close friends.

Why?: I got involved with the oil spill response project, because knowing I could help make someone else feel better is very rewarding.

Your wish?: My Christmas wish for the city is for them not to feel any less fortunate because of the devastating oil spill that occurred.

Favorite Christmas activity?: My favorite thing to do during the holiday/Christmas season is to spend a lot of time with family, eat a lot and listen to tons of Christmas music!

STEPHANIE KINDER

Oil Spill Response Team

A native Blue Ridge Mountaineer; I enjoy rock climbing, snow boarding and anything outdoors… I enjoy dancing and singing and being super random and goofy with my family and friends.

Why?: I got involved because I couldn’t sit back and watch another disaster occur on the coast and not at least try to do something to help out.

Your wish?: My Christmas wish for Bayou La Batre is that Christmas occurs in their spirits not just their living rooms this year.  They’ve been through so much; my wish is for fulfillment, peace and hope of a prosperous future.

Favorite Christmas activity?: My favorite thing to do at the holidays is bake cookies and listen to Christmas music on snowy days.

Oil Spill Response TeamOil Spill Response TeamOil Spill Response TeamOil Spill Response TeamOil Spill Response TeamOil Spill Response Team

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Cornhole Fundraiser to Support the Gulf Oil Spill

Members of the Blue Mountain Cares Team recently hosted a Cornhole Tournament to raise money for their Oil Spill Response initiative. The support from everyone at the Blue Mountain office was tremendous! Over 40 people (that’s 20 cornhole teams) came out and competed for some pretty awesome gifts and, of course, the ultimate prize – bragging rights! For those of you who are unfamiliar with the sport (as it was very new to me when I joined the Blue Mountain family), take a look at the pictures below. They give a great illustration of how much fun this game really is:

 

For more information about the Oil Spill Response initiative, read here.

Cornhole Fundraiser to Support the Gulf Oil SpillCornhole Fundraiser to Support the Gulf Oil SpillCornhole Fundraiser to Support the Gulf Oil SpillCornhole Fundraiser to Support the Gulf Oil SpillCornhole Fundraiser to Support the Gulf Oil SpillCornhole Fundraiser to Support the Gulf Oil Spill