Nov. 5, 2012 at 5:35 PM ET
When the National Guard needed help during Hurricane Sandy, a company usually known for providing a different type of support came to the rescue.
Victoria's Secret and New York Army National Guard’s 69th Infantry Regiment became bosom buddies when the power was knocked out at the National Guard's historic Lexington Armory, often used as an event space, during the storm. Employees for the lingerie brand had arrived just ahead of the storm in advance of the company’s third annual fashion show at the Armory, and they brought more than just leggy supermodels and a runway. Instead of Adriana Lima electrifying the building, it was eight 500-kilowatt generators brought by the show's producers that helped restore power for the National Guardsmen to help form a base of operations as they helped New Yorkers during the storm.
The National Guard contacted the fashion show’s crew on Oct. 30, and they promptly came over and cranked up the generators to provide the century-old building with heat, lighting, hot water, enough electricity to power the elevators, and Internet service to assist in rescue and recovery efforts.
The soldiers also borrowed a forklift to help unload food from tractor trailers sent by the Federal Emergency Management Agency to help distribute to those in need.
“Victoria’s Secret was an absolute lifesaver just by the sheer nature of their generosity,’’ Col. Richard Goldenberg, the spokesperson for the New York National Guard, told TODAY.com.
The unlikely partnership has been a source of amusement to the public as the Northeast tries to recover from the storm.
"No one handles logistics better than those practiced at keeping 20 supermodels in equal star billing,'' one commenter wrote on New York Magazine's website.
"Victoria's Secret has been promoting 'support' for a long time. Now's the pay off,'' another commenter cracked.
The fashion show is now set for Nov. 7, and two-thirds of the approximate 300 uniformed National Guard personnel at the Armory have been moved to local hotels in the area, according to Goldenberg. The armory is not a barracks intended for housing purposes and had just become a makeshift one because of the storm.
“Now that the power is back on in Manhattan, our focus is moving away from there and to other areas like Brooklyn and Staten Island for debris removal and distribution of rations," Goldenberg said. "We’re more than happy to give (Victoria’s Secret) the space that they planned to use. Part of the business of lower Manhattan, frankly, is fashion shows, so if that is part of getting New York City back to normal, we’re supportive of that.’’
Thanks to Victoria’s Secret providing a central location for operations during the immediate aftermath of the storm, the New York Army National Guardsmen helped distribute food, evacuated patients from Bellevue Hospital and hauled diesel fuel up 13 floors to keep the hospital’s generator running. They also carried 120-pound battery packs to rooftops to restore cell service, according to a report by Wired magazine.
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