Day 1 & 2 of Emergency Disaster Service (EDS) Deployment – Wilks-Barre, PA

On September 17, 2011, I was deployed along with 40 other people from the state of Georgia to the Wilks-Barre, Pennsylvania flood response.

I flew out of Albany, GA at 6:00am and arrived in Philadelphia a little after 12 noon.  My original deployment assignment was the Canteen Operation Coordinator.  My assignment is to coordinate the activities of 7 mobile feeding units and their crews.  We were originally sending crews from Wyoming County to Hazleton.  A canteen unit is able to cook and deliver food to remote or local areas.

With meals, bags of ice, and bottled water, our canteen crews were able to deliver cleanup kits (picture left) to these families.  A cleanup kit contains bleach, cleaner/degreaser, broom, scrubber, sponges, gloves, and mask to assist in the cleaning of an area.  All of these items are available free to all of the people who come to the window.  The Salvation Army is available to offer physical support in every way a person might need it.

Also, loaded on many of the canteens is a Salvation Army Emotional and Spiritual Care worker.  With the meals and physical supplies offered to everyone who needs it, The Salvation Army is also looking for the emotional and spiritual well-being of the individual.  People are being prayed with, lives are being changed, change is being made, good is being done!

Canteens have become a welcome addition to many of the communities in which they have been ministering at!

Disaster is a lot of hard work, a lot of last minute decisions.  Dealing with consequences of the decisions we made and the consequences of unavailable events comprises a lot of the management of disaster services.  It is also a chance to work with some of the finest people in the world.  Some of the people who are the unsung heroes of disasters are Lt. Dan Nelson and Capt. Marion Platt (pictured right).  Lt. Dan Nelson is part of the Incident Command System.  His assignment is Finance & Administration.  He is responsible for all of the financial decisions, recording, accounting, statistical reporting, and personnel.  He has a very difficult job.  He has to manage not only the money and donations, but also the care, feeding, and transportation of over 50 disaster workers and volunteers.

Also, in the picture on the right is Marion Platt.  Captain Platt is the Team Leader from the Georgia Division.  Marion is responsible for the care and disposition of all of the forces from the state of Georgia.

Disaster responders are called from many different areas.  Along with our forces from Georgia is a great team from the Kentucky/Tennessee Division.  Lt. Nelson is one of those officers.  They have been instrumental in setting the tone for the response and are ultimately responsible for the success of the disaster up until this point.  Our Incident Commander, Major Ed Binnix, is a veteran field officer and an experienced disaster specialist.  We have been fortunate to have his wisdom and expertise as we move forward.

I would ask that you pray for those who have been affected in this disaster.  Pray for those of us who have responded to God and The Salvation Army’s call to respond!  Pray for those we left behind to keep the “home fires burning.”

Sol Deo Gloria!

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