LAKE CHARLES, La., Sept. 24, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, CITGO Petroleum Corporation memorializes the story of CITGO Lake Charles' first responders' efforts to rebuild their community in the aftermath of Hurricane Rita with a new book and accompanying documentary, entitled "In the Eye of the Forgotten Storm." Joined by community leaders, employees and many others who were on the ground during the storm, CITGO is hosting a screening of the documentary and sharing copies of the book with employees as part of company efforts to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Rita. The book will be available for purchase at MT Publishing.
Ten years ago, the Gulf experienced two massive storms. Hurricane Katrina tore through Louisiana on Aug. 29, 2005 and, less than a month later on Sept. 24, Hurricane Rita inflicted further damage in Southwest Louisiana. "In the Eye of the Forgotten Storm" features interviews with current and retired CITGO employees and community officials who witnessed Rita's devastation firsthand and worked tirelessly to revive Calcasieu and Cameron Parishes.
The impact of Hurricane Rita caused the CITGO Lake Charles Refinery, the largest of the three CITGO refineries, to go entirely offline for the first time in its 70-year history. The fourth-largest refinery in the country at that time, the CITGO Lake Charles Refinery re-opened and restarted operations in a record 10 days, thanks to the support of community leaders and the commitment of the refinery's employees to provide fuel and supplies to those in need.
"Hurricane Rita had devastating effects on the entire Southwest Louisiana community, but joining with our neighbors to help this area bounce back was moving," said Tomeu Vadell, vice president & general manager of the CITGO Lake Charles Refinery. "As 'In the Eye of the Forgotten Storm' demonstrates, Hurricane Rita was a unifying force that reiterated our sense of community. CITGO and its employees showed extreme compassion and generosity during this time and this commitment to giving back remains a cornerstone of this company."
The camaraderie and resilience spurred by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita has continued to inspire CITGO to make a difference in the communities where it operates. The company's latest program, CITGO Caring for Our Coast, honors the 10th anniversary of these storms and reaffirms the company's support for the Gulf through a series of programs and projects boosting coastal restoration and wetlands conservation via volunteer efforts and educational opportunities. In 2014, the program's first year, Caring for Our Coast led more than 1,200 volunteers to restore 81 acres of coastline and wetlands; plant 70,000 trees, bushes and grass plugs; and remove more than 230 pounds of trash.
Two days after the book release and screening, CITGO will partner with the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana (CRCL) for a dune restoration event at Southwest Louisiana's Cameron Parish shoreline. This event, part of Caring for Our Coast, is one of many environmental efforts sponsored by CITGO between Sept. 19 and Sept. 26 as part of National Estuaries Week.
Those interested in following the progress of these efforts and in helping to raise awareness for coastal restoration needs can use #plantadune on Twitter for more information. Each Tweet using this hashtag plants a plug of dune grass on a virtual beach at citgoplantadune.com and helps spread the word about environmental protection and restoration efforts.
To learn more about CITGO and the company's larger commitment to environmental stewardship, visit www.citgocaringforourcoast.com or follow @CITGO on Twitter.
CITGO, based in Houston, is a refiner, transporter and marketer of transportation fuels, lubricants, petrochemicals and other industrial products. The company is owned by CITGO Holding, Inc., an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of Petroleos de Venezuela, S.A., the national oil company of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. For more information, visit www.CITGO.com.
SOURCE CITGO Petroleum Corporation