Rubloff helps evacuate 5,000 hurricane victims

One of the Midwest’s largest developers, with operations and headquarters in the Rockford area, helped evacuate approximately 5,000 Hurricane Katrina victims to several states in the days after the disaster. They also helped deliver aid to hurricane victims, attempted to save medical research projects and transported Special Weapons and Tactics teams from Chicago to Louisiana.

Mark A. Robinson, president of Rubloff Development Group, Inc., said at the request of the U.S. Marshal’s office, the company’s affiliated aviation businesses flew about 5,000 people out of the affected areas to numerous states and delivered food, water and toiletries to Baton Rouge, La.

Robinson wasn’t sure where all the evacuees were transported, but did say none of them landed in Rockford. He added that the company “made a couple of trips” to deliver food, water and other personal hygiene items to Baton Rouge.

Robinson said they also delivered liquid nitrogen in an attempt to replenish diminishing supplies that were being used by Tulane University medical researchers for preservation purposes. Liquid nitrogen is frequently used to preserve microbiological, histological and other types of biological specimens for research by lowering temperatures far below the freezing point of water.

Extremely low temperatures prevent biological specimens from degradation by microorganisms, such as bacteria and fungi.

The Rubloff empire was founded in Chicago about seven decades ago by Arthur Rubloff, and is currently owned by Ronald E. Swenson of Caledonia, Gerald H. Weber Jr. of Rockford and Robert S. Brownson of North Barrington. They own shopping centers, office buildings, commercial developments and a residential construction company, which operates under the name of Hallmark Homes in northern Illinois.

Robinson said the reason Rubloff was asked to assist in the relief effort was because it transports federal prisoners for the U.S. Marshal’s office.

Rubloff’s headquarters is at 4949 Harrison Ave., Rockford.

From the Sept. 14-20, 2005, issue

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