Fremont-made disaster trailers in Florida, Texas
By Amy Oberlin | KPC News - The Herald Republican
A new Fremont factory is providing comfort and security to those helping in the hurricane-stricken South.
Bill Gibson of Angola started JAG, a play on the name of his now-teenage sons Jarrett Austin Gibson and Jacob Alexander Gibson, in Howe after moving from West Virginia in 2006. JAG Mobile Solutions opened a Fremont facility several months ago and has caught the attention of locals, not just through employment opportunities, but with a recent large shipment to Florida.
JAG makes temporary living quarters similar to Federal Emergency Management Agency trailers, but with better accommodations, said Bill Gibson. The Fremont factory, sited in the former Tokheim building at 400 Swager Drive, recently completed a 40-camper shipment, which went out last Thursday through Saturday.
Fremont Town Council member Steve Brown said at one point on Saturday, Swager Drive was “parked full of pickup trucks,” ready to haul the disaster-relief bunkhouses.
“We made them pretty darn nice,” said Gibson. He said there is more air conditioning, security precautions and safety features than were probably needed. They were made accessible for those who sleep with respirators, with wider, longer beds than the usual bunkhouse quarters.
“I was just down in Greater Houston,” said Gibson, “and spent some time in one of those camps.”
Camps of 250 to 5,000 workers are set up in locations close to the disaster zones. Most traveled with utility companies to help restore service amid the rubble.
JAG has provided 2,500 beds in Texas and Florida over the past four months. Most of them were manufactured in Fremont, said Gibson.
“We help clients provide many essential services to utility workers using our products,” said Gibson. That includes bunkhouse trailers that sleep 16 people comfortably, shower trailers, restroom trailers with flushing toilets and hand-washing accommodations, kitchen trailers that allow caterers access to commercial appliances and laundry trailers for cleaning clothes and bed linens.
The last 40-trailer shipment went out as Hurricane Irma was coming in earlier this month. Some of them were staged in Daytona Beach, Florida, and got damaged in the melee, said Gibson. While they were beat up a little, Gibson said they are still able to be used.
JAG’s main business is making mobile restrooms, showers and laundry facilities, and when the hurricane-related orders dwindle, Gibson said that will probably be the main focus for the 22 employees in Fremont.
“I love being part of the Steuben County community,” said Gibson.