Disaster Response in Detroit
This summer, Detroit was hit with record flooding. Areas of the city reported 4-6 inches of rain coming down in a single day. The airport received more than an inch of rain within a 24 minute period. As a result, roadways, basements, and businesses were soon filled with muddy water.
Though the Motor City is two time zones away, the generosity of Montana reached out to those in need. In October, 10 members of the Montana Conservation Corps loaded up their rigs and headed to Michigan to help Detroit recover. More than 20 additional AmeriCorps members from the Conservation Corps Minnesota and Iowa, Arizona Conservation Corps, and the Texas Conservation Corps met them in Detroit to help. Since August, these AmeriCorps teams have collectively served nearly 4,000 hours; mucked and gutted more than 70 affected homes; and cleared more than 800 cubic yards of debris.
AmeriCorps members are no strangers to disaster response. Several programs, such as the Montana Conservation Corps, are poised to deploy teams after large disasters, such as Hurricane Sandy. In previous disasters, MCC members have filled sandbags, removed debris, managed warehouses and inventories, and staffed shelters. When asked what AmeriCorps members and communities have gained from getting involved in disaster response, Lee Gault, MCC Director of Partnerships, says,
"They see the chaos that goes with most natural disasters and they invariably step into leadership roles. They are part of historic events. But most importantly, I think they gain a greater sense of compassion for their fellow man; they see other people suffering and their first response is to ask how they can help.
Communities begin to see AmeriCorps members as extremely important resources. They see young people showing up, wanting to serve. They see the almost unlimited capacity and willingness of these young folks to help. They also benefit from the services members provide; trees are cleared, roofs are patched, debris is removed, volunteers are organized and people who have lost their homes have a safe place to spend the night."
For more, read this great article from the Helena Independent Record: