Over the next several weeks, we will be profiling the winners of the 2012 Service Impact Awards. Look for their stories and videos here on the blog.
The St. Louis Safety Service Corps, commonly known as the Emergency Response Team (ERT), answered the call time and time again after natural disasters scarred communities across the Midwest in 2011.
From the record-setting devastation of the EF-5 tornado that struck Joplin, to the massive floods that covered southeast Missouri and flowed into surrounding states, the 35 full-time AmeriCorps members traveled across the state and region to come to the aid of those in the path of these destructive forces of nature.
In times of disaster, members of the ERT have developed strong partnerships with faith-based and voluntary organizations, local and state emergency managers, as well as agencies like FEMA and the United Way. Together they have joined first responders to reach out to aid citizens who have been left homeless, distraught, devastated, or grieving the loss of loved ones.
Some ERT members initially focus on critical life safety needs assisting with search and rescue, distribution of life-sustaining supplies, and outreach to special needs families. At the same time, other members collaborate with community leaders to effectively manage volunteers, coordinate donations, and develop an effective approach for recovery.
In Joplin alone, ERT members have coordinated more than 75,000 volunteers to complete 2,200 homeowner requests. The ERT has deployed to disasters in more than 60 Missouri counties and 30 states. As good “guests” in these communities, they strive to represent a set of values that reflects the needs of those in trouble; serving courteously, professionally, and with empathy.
St. Louis Safety Service Corps was selected as the winner in the Disaster Services category in the 2012 National Service Impact Awards.