SCOTT, LA – Manheim’s Lafayette Auto Auction and Mississippi Auto Auction received special recognition awards from the General Services Administration (GSA) Dec. 8 at Lafayette Auto Auction in Scott. The awards were given to the auctions “for their outstanding efforts on behalf of the United States of America in emergency conditions during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.”
Both auctions assisted Katrina relief teams by marshaling and distributing vehicles to them. Employees were on call 24 hours a day to receive cars from across the country, make sure they were “road ready” and distribute them to the appropriate government agencies.
“We were honored to give something back to the great group of people who work for the GSA,” said Judy Taylor, general manager of the Mississippi Auto Auction in Hattiesburg, Miss. “We understood the very difficult job they had before them, and whatever we could do to make the job easier, we did.”
In addition to marshaling and distributing vehicles, the Lafayette Auto Auction bought and installed RVs on-site to house GSA employees. At any point there were two to six GSA employees on-site assisting in the marshaling efforts to deploy relief crews such as FEMA to the areas that needed help the most.
“We’re a very small auction within Manheim, but we just reacted and did what we had to do,” said Gary Brewer, general manager of the Lafayette Auto Auction. “Our employees never blinked, argued, or asked why.”
Lafayette Auto Auction also sent supplies throughout the disaster to the Mississippi Auto Auction and Greater New Orleans Auto Auction. The auctions were operating without electricity for days and without telephones for weeks.
Lafayette employees managed to hold a sale a mere 72 hours after Hurricane Katrina. Chase Auto Finance presented the auction with the “Chase Above and Beyond The Call Award.” In addition, the facility received Chase’s first ever 100 percent report card for the sale, which sold 95 percent of Chase’s vehicles and attracted more than 200 dealers.
Ford Motor Co. donated 150 vehicles to the Lafayette Auto Auction for distribution to government agencies in the coastal areas of Mississippi and Louisiana. Brewer and the auction received a personal thank-you letter from Ford’s chief executive officer, Bill Ford.
Manheim Auctions Government Services has distributed and marshaled federal government vehicles for a variety of agencies, such as GSA, for more than 10 years.