New Orleans donations continue

SimplexGrinnell, Northstar FP of Texas, Digger Phelps build home for Katrina victims
Friday, February 1, 2008

NEW ORLEANS--Former Notre Dame basketball coach Richard "Digger" Phelps, who is also a former spokesperson for the National Fire Sprinkler Association, on Dec. 17 presented the keys to a brand new home to Shirley and Walter Collins, New Orleans residents who were displaced during Hurricane Katrina.
Phelps built the home with funds from the non-profit Digger Phelps Katrina Foundation, which he started to build homes for needy New Orleans residents.
The home is fully sprinklered thanks to donations from Simplex Grinnell and Northstar Fire Protection of Texas.
Terry Victor, national sales manager of sprinkler systems for SimplexGrinnell, serves on the board of the NFSA. He said NFSA president John Viniello approached him about participating in the project. "We agreed to do the layout, obtain the necessary permits. We worked with local authorities and Mark Tate [of Northstar] agreed to do the installation," Victor said.
"Work done was done through our New Orleans office, a place where we've had a presence for many years," he said (search "Hilton Houses Katrina workers" at
Based in Austin, Texas, Northstar Fire Protection does installation, sales, design and service of fire alarm and fire sprinklers throughout the Southwest, but mainly in Texas. It also has offices in Dallas, Houston and San Antonio.
"We sent a crew from Houston to New Orleans to do the install based on Terry's design," said Mark Tate, president of Northstar. "It was for a good cause," he said.
Phelps set out several stipulations about who should be given the home, including current employment and involvement in the community. According to ABC News, which attended the Dec. 17 ceremony, "at the height of the storm's fury, the Collins family helped save 16 people from the raging floodwaters swirling around them." Their new home is the first the Collins family has ever owned.