Editors' Note: Below is a guest commentary by AmeriCorps Director John Gomperts that appeared in the July 7, 2011 edition of the St. Louis Post Dispatch.The commentary highlights the extraordinary volunteer response to the May 22 Joplin tornado and the key volunteer management role played by AmeriCorps in the wake of natural disasters.
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.
A few moments later, his cell phone lit up. A powerful tornado had just touched down in Joplin, leaving enormous wreckage in its path.
Bailey immediately mobilized his Emergency Response Team. Within hours, his team of AmeriCorps members left St. Louis, driving through the night to Joplin. They arrived at 2:30 am, and three hours later they had established a call center for missing persons. Read More >>