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Posted: December 16, 2015

AMO fund supports families of El Faro officers


I thank everyone who has contributed to the AMO El Faro Disaster Relief Fund, and I ask those who have not yet contributed to the fund to consider making a donation in support of the El Faro families.

The AMO El Faro Disaster Relief Fund - approved by the American Maritime Officers National Executive Board - is intended to mitigate financial loss to the families and to help dependents meet unforeseen expenses as they cope with grief and prolonged recovery.

Distributions from the fund to the El Faro families are in addition to benefits due from the AMO Medical, Vacation, Pension, 401(k) and Money Purchase Benefit Plans. The joint union-employer trustees of these AMO benefit funds have approved expedited claims processing and benefit payment for the dependent beneficiaries. Distributions from the fund are also in addition to refunds issued by AMO to El Faro families for dues paid for the fourth quarter or later by AMO members lost in the sinking of the El Faro.

The AMO El Faro Disaster Relief Fund is a separate entity from the AMO Membership Assistance Program, which helps AMO families who suffered property damage during hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes or other natural disasters.

Any individual, organization or business can contribute to the AMO El Faro Disaster Relief Fund, which is administered by Paradise Bank in Fort Lauderdale.

The fund has applied for tax-exempt status under 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Service Code, which could make contributions to the fund tax deductible, depending on individual circumstances. Payments to dependent beneficiaries may also be tax-free to the extent allowed by law under recent precedent.

American Maritime Officers provided an initial contribution to the fund in memory of Captain Michael C. Davidson, Chief Engineer Richard J. Pusatere, Chief Mate Steven W. Shultz, Chief Engineer Jeffrey A. Mathias, Second Mate Danielle L. Randolph, First Assistant Engineer Keith W. Griffin, Third Mate Jeremie H. Riehm, Second Assistant Engineer Howard J. Schoenly, Third Assistant Engineer Michael L. Holland, Third Assistant Engineer Mitchell T. Kuflik and Third Assistant Engineer Dylan O. Meklin.

AMO Inland Waters Vice President Dave Weathers and AMO Dispatcher Robert Anderson serve without compensation as trustees of the AMO El Faro Disaster Relief Fund, along with AMO Controller Thomas Heaton and Marie Doruth, my special assistant at AMO headquarters in Dania Beach.

Checks and money orders payable to the AMO El Faro Disaster Relief Fund can be sent to:
AMO El Faro Disaster Relief Fund
P.O. Box 38
Dania Beach, FL 33004
Online contributions can be made through PayPal via a link on the AMO Web site home page.

Paul Doell
National President