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Tavita Tusitala

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Rogue Creamery helps worker's Samoan family
« on: October 28, 2009, 09:54:00 AM »
Creamery helps worker's Samoan family

Poasa Galo's sister was killed and his family left homeless in the tsunami that leveled parts of American Samoa earlier this year. Rogue Creamery is holding a fundraiser  for its employee's family.

When a tsunami slammed into American Samoa Sept. 29, Poasa Galo, an island native who now lives in Central Point, was at work making cheese at Rogue Creamery.

"It was terrible for Samoa," Galo said of the devastation he and his family saw on television.
You can help

A fundraising sale to help Poasa Galo's family was held at the Rogue Creamery's Central Point shop

 and the Rogue Valley Growers and Crafters Market in Ashland.

Even worse, though, was his inability to reach his mother, brother and two sisters in the village where he grew up.

"I was worried," he said.

Head cheesemaker Craig Nelson sprang into action, tapping expertise he gained during a 21-year Army career to contact the Red Cross, the State Department and finally American Samoa's Rep. Eni Faleomavaega to check on Galo's family.

While Galo was relieved to talk to his mother on a phone call facilitated by the congressman, she had grim news. His 16-year-old sister Faatasiga had been killed and the family home destroyed.

Again, Galo's co-workers responded.

Creamery owners David Gremmels and Cary Bryant also bought Galo plane tickets to American Samoa next month. He will travel to see his family and take the money raised this week to help them rebuild in the village of Lano where he and his 10 siblings grew up.

"The house is gone," Galo said. "I don't know where they are living."

Communication to the island has remained fairly difficult, despite relief efforts. President Obama declared an emergency, clearing the way for federal funding to assist the island, which is a U.S. territory. The U.S. Department of Labor has provided an emergency grant of $24.8 million to help clean-up and recovery efforts.

The death toll is estimated at 34 in American Samoa, with 143 confirmed dead in the nation of Samoa to the west and another nine people dead in Tonga.

"Everyone wanted to do a little thing to help," said Francis Plowman, Rogue Creamery's marketing manager.

Nelson said Galo is "a super hard worker," whom he holds up as an example to new employees.

Galo moved to Central Point in 1999 to work and live near one of his sisters, who later moved to Portland. Most of his four sisters and six brothers had come to the mainland United States. He started working at Rogue Creamery in September 2005.

"He is an incredible worker who really sets the tone for the whole crew," Plowman said.

http://www.mailtribune.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20091027/NEWS/910270311

Tavita Tusitala

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Creamery raises $7,700 to aid one of its workers
« Reply #1 on: November 04, 2009, 10:55:03 AM »
http://www.dailytidings.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20091103/LIFE/911030320
Creamery raises $7,700 to aid one of its workers

A Rogue Creamery fundraising effort to help the family of one of the company's cheesemakers garnered more than $7,700 last week.

Rogue Creamery donated all proceeds from cheese sales Oct. 27 at its Central Point store, online and at the Rogue Valley Growers and Crafters Market in Ashland, as well as at a farmers market at Portland State University on Wednesday, to Poasa Galo and his family.

Galo, who has worked at the creamery since September 2005, is originally from American Samoa, which was hit by a tsunami that swept through the region Sept. 29. His family home was lost and his 16-year-old sister killed.

The benefit broke sales records for the creamery, company officials said. Shoppers also left donations of checks or cash for the family, said Francis Plowman, Rogue Creamery's marketing manager.

"There are a lot of generous people," he said. "This is a great community for that."

Creamery owners David Gremmels and Cary Bryant bought Galo plane tickets to American Samoa and he will travel to visit his family and take them the money raised to aid in their rebuilding process.

Gremmels thanked people for their support in a written statement. He also encouraged anyone still interested in giving to contact the United Way to assist with a variety of needs here in the community.

 


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