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Disaster Response and Recovery

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As a native of Long Island, the attacks of September 11th, 2001 hit close to home for Tracy Connelly. Loved ones working in the World Trade Center were missing. Family members responding to the attacks were injured. For 36 hours, she had no idea where her father was. Days after the events, Connelly learned of friends' deaths by passing their memorials in Penn Station.

New Orleans knows a lot about service. The city has a rich history steeped in volunteerism and national service. They also know, perhaps more than any other U.S. City, that service plays a critical role in transforming a place that suffered unimaginable destruction.

After Hurricane Katrina, the city once known for its lively and colorful neighborhoods, personalities, and culture was left shaken – swimming in floodwater and debris. At that point, it was hard to imagine that the city would ever return to its once vibrant self. Yet, just six years later, New Orleans has been reborn.

No matter where disaster strikes, National Service is there. Our AmeriCorps members have been on the ground in Joplin since the F5 tornado touched down on May 22nd.

On the Sunday evening of May 22, Bruce Bailey, founder of the AmeriCorps St. Louis Emergency Response Team, had just arrived at a barbecue in Kansas City with his colleagues and buddies.

Zack Rosenburg was living a comfortable life as an attorney in Washington, DC when Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast in August 2005. And while Americans came from all over to New Orleans to help, Zack took the extra step of leaving his job, moving to New Orleans and devoting himself fully to the recovery.

In the aftermath of the devastating tornado that struck Moore, Oklahoma, last week, the Corporation for National and Community Service is working closely with federal, state, and local officials to deploy AmeriCorps members to the region early Tuesday, May 21. As of Thursday, May 30, 96 AmeriCorps members had boots on the ground.

In the aftermath of the devastating tornado that struck Moore, Oklahoma, last week, we have witnessed remarkable courage and compassion. From the first responders who pulled survivors from the rubble, to the teachers who shielded their students, to the residents who sheltered their neighbors, Oklahomans have displayed extraordinary strength and resilience.

President Obama’s words remind us of the remarkable way in which Americans across the country will unite after tragedy strikes, just as they have done in the wake of the devastating tornado that struck Moore, Oklahoma yesterday.

This week, the Corporation for National and Community Service, elected officials, and community leaders are marking the contributions of Senior Corps volunteers across the country. In fact, more than 40 governors have issued proclamations for Senior Corps Week.

Six months ago, Hurricane Sandy struck communities all along the East Coast. In the aftermath of this devastating super storm, AmeriCorps and national service members trained in disaster response are proving to be a valuable and cost-efficient resource for America as they help victims and survivors begin to rebuild their lives.


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