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Phillip Mendiola-Long wins SBA award

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CNMI Board of Education member Phillip Thomas Mendiola-Long is among the four winners of the U.S. Small Business Administration’s 2020 National Small Business Week Phoenix Award.

Mendiola-Long, who represents Tinian on the education board, received the Outstanding Contributions to Disaster Recovery by a Volunteer Award.

SBA commended Mendiola-Long and the other awardees “for their outstanding and inspiring resilience in the aftermath of devastating disasters.”

Since 1998, SBA said it has presented Phoenix Awards to business owners, public officials, and volunteers who displayed selflessness, ingenuity and tenacity in the aftermath of a disaster, while contributing to the rebuilding of their communities.

This year’s other recipients are two Texas small business owners, Albert Terry Bourque Jr. and Hope Bourque, who rebounded after massive inventory losses from Hurricane Harvey, and  Montgomery County Commissioner Deborah A. Lieberman of Ohio who swiftly responded to the area’s needs following a tornado.

As for Mendiola-Long, SBA stated that after Super Typhoon Yutu severely damaged his gas station, one of only two on Tinian,  he decided to share his remaining resources to support the island's recovery. 

“He returned to the gas station to find that the winds had ripped out the only two gas pumps from their foundations,” SBA stated.

“Within 24 hours, Phillip and his staff had scavenged the island, found a hand pump, and built an extension line into the underground gas tank. The team could now begin pumping fuel for first responders, law enforcement officials, and city agencies involved in the recovery effort. He also organized a volunteer effort to distribute generators donated by a local charity to disaster survivors.

“Phillip reached out to Guam business contacts and gathered food, water, tents, first-aid kits, and other survival necessities for the disaster survivors. He used his office as a supply distribution center that stayed open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.  Phillip drove to Tinian's hardest-hit areas, personally delivering relief goods to those in desperate need.

“Using social media, Phillip reached out to business contacts, family, and friends in Hawaii, Guam, Nevada, and Texas and asked for donations. His efforts netted 20 boxes of supplies and $15,000 in cash for the beleaguered island residents,” SBA stated.

 


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