Thoughts from Oklahoma: Day 5-New Recruits Joining the Army of Hope

In every fight or conflict, troops get weary and tired. Fatigue sets in and makes continuing more and more difficult. After someone has been serving for a time, it is time to bring in some new vitality and spirit. You need a fresh infusion of service and love.

Let me introduce you to Pam Wedel. Pam served today at the MARC (Multi-Agency Resource Center) in Shawnee, OK. Pam is relatively new in her volunteering with The Salvation Army. She was looking for an opportunity to help out! She says that this is a good time in her life to extend her circle of people that she serves and helps. A woman of faith, Pam has interviewed and prayed with many inidividuals and families at the Shawnee MARC. She is always there with a winning smile and a williing spirit! She makes everyone feel welcome as they come to the table to talk to The Salvation Army.

And, you may wonder what her reward is…let’s ask Pam herself…

 

Soli Deo Gloria!

Day 7 of Emergency Disaster Services (EDS) Response – Wilkes-Barre, PA Area Flooding

Greetings to the South from Wilkes-Barre, PA Corps Officers, Captains Doug & Patti Richwine:

We met several wonderful people here in the Wilkes-Barre, PA area.  One of these people is Stanley Owca from the Brookside neighborhood.

Another person we had a chance to talk to was Gregory Germek.  Mr. Germek is used to helping others in disaster and never thought it would be himself who needed help.

As well as the wonderful people here in Pennsylvania, we also had a chance to work with some great people from other places.  One of these people is DJ Burleigh from Virginia.  DJ was demobilized and sent hoe this morning, but before he left, he shared some of his own experience here.

Connie Jones (right) being demobilized by Captain Art Fultz and Lt. Valentina Cantu

One of the important processes in a disaster response is the demobilization, or better known as debriefing.  Demobilization is a process where trained Emotional & Spiritual Care workers meet with every responder to give them a chance to share with someone about their experiences.  It also allows that person to possibly get feelings and emotions out.

This process is available to all levels of a disaster response team. From Incident Commanders to canteen employees, The Salvation Army sees the need to allow people the chance to share their experiences and receive prayer and a blessing.

Part of the difficulty in any disaster situation is knowing when to hand the work off to the local corps and community.  Too soon can lay too much responsibility on the local relief. Too late can extend expenses and resources further then they can go.

Connie Jones greets a younger disaster victim
DJ Burleigh and "his" canteen
Connie Jones walking 92 year old flood victim out to his car

Day 6 of Emergency Disaster Services (EDS) Response – Wilkes-Barre, PA Area Flooding

In recent days, we have discussed the various phases of the disaster response process.  One of the important phases in this process is the transition of one incident command to another team.

One of the strengths of The Salvation Army’s Emergency Disaster Response process is its’ ability to transfer the responsibility of command and distribution to other officers, workers, and volunteers. A typical disaster response deployment is 14 days.  Of those 14 days, two days are for travel.  There is one day set aside to travel to the disaster and one day to return to your original location.  The 12 remaining days consist of two components: active days and shadowing days.  The first and last day of this 12 day period are for shadowing the officer, employee, or volunteer that you are replacing.

Captain Mason accepts command from Major Binnix

Contacts in the community, location of resources, and names of people who can assist in the disaster are important.  It is not effective for the previous incident command team to start a competent response and them not have that work continue at the same level of effectiveness.

Although comically portrayed to the right, Major Ed Binnix is handing over the responsibilities to our new incident commander, Captain Todd Mason. Captain Mason, a veteran EDS responder, has been moved from the Planning Chief position to the Incident Commander.  His former position of Planning Chief has become a low priority since all of the future plans and strategies have now been put into place.

Captain Mason and the new incident command team will be responsible for the demobilization of the disaster response and its’ hand-off to the local command and divisional headquarters.

Pam (Vidalia) receives her first EDS "badge" from Lt. Jason Burns

One of the more overlooked resources that are necessary for action within a disaster response is the volunteer.  Pam from Vidalia, GA is pictured here receiving her new “badge” from the previous Operations Chief, Lt. Jason Burns. Pam has bee heavily-involved in the work of The Salvation Army in disaster back at home.

Recognizing her service and request for the badge, the incident command team wanted to improve morale and joy within the overall team. One of the critical tasks of the Incident Command Team is the need to support all of the personnel with their command.

Volunteers are always needed for minor and major responses.  You can register at disaster.salvationarmyusa.org to sign-up to volunteer and attend classes.  You can also find out more information about The Salvation Army by following @SalArmyEDS on Twitter.

Following is a great interview with Michael Bush from Virginia. Michael is recently returned from disaster response in Virginia. He is always willing to help more people.

Last "decompression dinner" with combined teams

Included below our pictures of some of our incident command team having a good time together. At times, laughter and fun helps the response process and gives the team the ability to face the next day.

Captain Patrick Richmond (right) has heard all of Lt. Jason Burns' (left) stories
I am the walrus! Coo-coo-catchoo! - Captain Patrick Richmond
New Incident Commander, Captain Mason's first order - a massage. Also pictured is Lt. Jonathan Howell
Micah becomes the new Operations Chief