McKesson Pharmaceutical boosts Red Cross efforts

By: Glenda Plunkett
American Red Cross 


Rochester, MN, September 6, 2007; It all started when Scott Mooney, Distribution Center Manager for McKesson Pharmaceutical, received a phone call from his client in St. Charles, MN. The client had experienced flooding over the weekend and needed his help. Mooney went to see him. While there he heard for the first time that there was trouble in Rushford. Rushford had been overwhelmed by a disastrous flood causing great loss to businesses and homes. Mooney’s thoughts turned to a previous client, Tom Witt and his business, Witt’s Pharmacy.

Mooney knew the townspeople and the nursing home, Good Shepard, relied on this small mom and pop pharmacy. He made a trip to Rushford to see his former client Tom Witt.

He found Witt at the Good Shepard Nursing Home. Witt was in trouble. The rumors were true. His business was lost. Witt asked him to walk across the street with him to the Red Cross shelter.

Mooney said, “The shelter was packed with cots and blankets. It hit me like a brick what the Red Cross was doing for these people. I thought we need to help too. I was also impressed with how Tom was helping the people there even though he had lost his business. He recovered what medicines were left and channeled them through the shelter to those who really needed help. My next question for Tom was what do you need to make this work?”

I called our foundation and we agreed to give a check for $10,000 to Red Cross in the city of Rushford and another $10,000 to the National Headquarters of the Red Cross,” said Mooney. The McKesson Foundation founded by McKesson Pharmaceuticals, the largest pharmaceutical distributor in North America. Each day they distribute one-third of the medicines used in the United States.

Witt needed counter tops, cubicle dividers, and a refrigerator to name a few things. He needed rubber gloves, cotton balls and other odds and ends for the make shift first aid center in the back of the shelter.

Mooney said, “Let me see what I can do.”

Mooney went back to his warehouse in La Crosse, WI where he procured portable tabletops, counters, cabinets, and other odds and ends. “I bought him a refrigerator since I didn’t have one in the warehouse. We sent all of it directly to Rushford. There we helped to assemble a make-shift pharmacy and office so that Witt could operate his business again. He needed a refrigerator and I bought him one at Menards,” said Mooney.

By Tuesday morning thanks to the generosity of McKesson Pharmaceuticals the St. Charles Pharmacy and Witt were back in business. Witt was once again providing needed medication to the Good Shepard Nursing Home and the residents of Rushford.

After doing so, Mooney spoke with the health professionals running the first aid station. These professionals were a mix of Red Cross volunteers and Winona Public Health Department. Winona Health was also a former client of McKesson but this made no difference to Mooney as the nurse relayed her dilemma. The health department was dispensing shots of tetanus and Hepatitis B to those of the public that wanted them but were running out of the much needed vials of serum.

Once again Mooney sprang into action. He sent for 300 vials of tetanus serum and 300 vials of Hepatitis B serum from his warehouse for Winona Public Health’s use.

“It was the right thing to do,” lamented Mooney. “We are all in the business of helping people and it touched my heart how much they needed our assistance.”

“A couple of times Tom has brought up buying from McKesson again. I told him now is not the time for that. We can discuss it in the future. Right now we have to get you on your feet and back on-line,” said Mooney.

Mooney continued, “The Red Cross support I saw there was incredible. It touched me from the first time I walked in. I walked up to a woman who was checking people into the shelter. It turns out she lost her mobile home and everything in it, but it didn’t stop her from helping other people as they checked into the shelter. I stopped in there several times over the next few days and each time she greeted me. She put everything in her life aside to help others.”

 “As time went on, I saw the Red Cross progress from a shelter to more support services…feeding, nursing, clean up supplies, and making financial assistance happen. They had Salvation Army, FEMA and the Small Business Association in there with a host of others working alongside them doing various kinds of support for the locals there. I was truly impressed with the will to help,” said Mooney.


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