Omega Protein is working with the Cameron Lions Club to raise money for Cameron Parish, La., residents, devastated when Hurricane Laura came ashore Aug. 27 with 150 mph winds.

Cameron was for decades a homeport for Omega’s menhaden catcher vessels, and the company on Tuesday set up and will contribute to a GoFundMe campaign to pay for relief and recovery efforts in the community.

Menhaden companies were a big part of the local economy for 65 years, and Omega had a fishing facility there from the mid-1960s until the end of 2013.

“Cameron was a wonderful home for us for nearly half a century,” said Ben Landry, director of public affairs for Omega Protein. “Even though we no longer operate in Cameron, the people there are still our friends and neighbors, and we will not turn our back on them during their time of need.”

All money raised through the GoFundMe campaign will go directly to the Cameron Lions Club and their charitable arm, the Cameron Educational and Charitable Endeavors Inc. Omega officials say they are working to involve employees across their parent company Cooke, Inc. in the U.S. and Canada to spread awareness of the damage to the region and help raise money.

At category 4 Hurricane Laura was the most powerful hurricane to strike Louisiana since 1856, with a storm surge that peaked at 17 feet east of Cameron. Local fishing families tell National Fishermen that many of them lost both their boats and homes to the storm’s utter destruction.

“Cameron Parish has sustained incredible damage from this storm,” Louisiana state Rep. Ryan Bourriaque, who represents Cameron Parish, said in a joint statement with Omega. “But with the help of good neighbors like Omega Protein and the generosity of people everywhere, we’ll rebuild this community and get it back on its feet.”

As of mid-afternoon Wednesday, the campaign had raised $550 toward a $10,000 goal. To contribute, visit the campaign page at  https://www.gofundme.com/f/hurricane-laura-assistance-cameron-la

Associate Editor Kirk Moore was a reporter for the Asbury Park Press for over 30 years before joining WorkBoat in 2015. He wrote several award-winning stories on marine, environmental, coastal and military issues that helped drive federal and state government policy changes. He has also been a field editor for WorkBoat’s sister publication, National Fisherman, for almost 25 years. Moore was awarded the Online News Association 2011 Knight Award for Public Service for the “Barnegat Bay Under Stress,” 2010 series that led to the New Jersey state government’s restoration plan. He lives in West Creek, N.J.

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