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Disaster Response and Recovery

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This week, nearly 100 AmeriCorps members boarded planes from Sacramento, CA, to New Jersey and New York where they will help residents affected by Hurricane Sandy rebuild homes, remove debris, and manage volunteers. Southwest Airlines’ decision to donate travel to these young leaders made this deployment possible.

As Hurricane Sandy efforts transition from emergency response to long-term recovery, AmeriCorps members are providing vital leadership in communities up and down the East Coast.

We continue to track news coverage of the role national service participants have played in the Hurricane Sandy relief and recovery effort for the last few months. This week, our collection of stories includes one about two AmeriCorps members who spent their holiday away from home, helping people in New York and New Jersey recover from the storm.

When AmeriCorps NCCC member Melissa Ettman was assigned to lead a Sacramento, CA-based team to help with the Hurricane Sandy cleanup in New York and New Jersey, she was familiar with many of the areas affected by the storm. In fact, her 87-year-old grandmother on Long Island was affected by the hurricane and had to live without electricity for a week.

The Hurricane Sandy recovery continues with more than 1,660 national service participants deployed in response to the storm and 715 currently serving on the ground and working with the storm’s victims. At this time 407 members of FEMA Corps, an AmeriCorps NCCC unit, have deployed or are being re-routed to New York and New Jersey to support FEMA Emergency Response operations in those areas.

Even though there are plenty of distractions around the holiday season, let’s not forget the victims of Hurricane Sandy who are still reassembling their lives in the storm’s aftermath. The Corporation for National and Community Service joins other federal and national agencies in the recovery effort with a commitment that’s used by our Disaster Services Unit: “You can count on us to respond fast and stay last.”

As the Hurricane Sandy recovery continues, the Serve.gov blog will highlight some of the best stories from the field. Today we have a personal reflection from AmeriCorps NCCC member Nicole Wojcik, who is serving with team Delta 10 and staffing a donation hotline in New Jersey.

As the Hurricane Sandy recovery continues, more stories are starting to come in about our national service members' experiences in the field. Whether they traveled across the country to affected areas or collected much-needed items far from the storm's path, their work continues to inspire.

Last week, I led a delegation to New York and New Jersey to visit sites providing disaster assistance to people affected by Hurricane Sandy. Throughout the day, we were joined by local elected officials who are working hard to meet the needs of their communities. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, New Jersey Lt. Gov. and Secretary of State Kim Guadagno, U.S. Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ), and New York City Councilman Brad Lander each joined us for a portion of the day.

President Obama visited with members of FEMA Corps, a unit of AmeriCorps NCCC, during his November 15 trip to survey the Hurricane Sandy damage in Staten Island, NY. A small contingent of the 428 FEMA Corps members currently serving in New York and New Jersey met the President at a Staten Island Disaster Recovery Center as the scene was broadcast across the nation.

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