FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Nov 19, 2013
SACRAMENTO, CALIF. – They responded to Hurricane Sandy and the Oklahoma tornadoes, assisted disaster survivors at their greatest time of need, helped pioneer new methods of disaster response, and developed leadership and problem-solving skills to last a lifetime.
After completing 10 months of intensive service to disaster survivors, 141 FEMA Corps members based at the Sacramento AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) campus were honored at graduation ceremonies today. This is the first graduating class from the Pacific Region AmeriCorps NCCC campus based in California.
FEMA Corps is an innovative partnership between the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) to enhance the nation’s disaster response and recovery capacity while expanding career opportunities for young people.
Established as a new unit within the existing AmeriCorps NCCC, FEMA Corps engages young adults ages 18 to 24 to provide 10 months of full-time service on disaster response and recovery projects.
“I am so proud of the work AmeriCorps members have done as part of FEMA Corps and the positive impact they have had for disaster survivors,” said Wendy Spencer, CNCS CEO. “Through their selfless service, they have helped thousands of survivors move forward with their lives and blazed the trail for future FEMA Corps teams to make an even greater impact.”
“In less than a year, FEMA Corps has become positive part of the nation’s response and recovery DNA,” said Nancy Ward, Regional Administrator for FEMA Region IX. “The empathy, energy. and enthusiasm that these young members have displayed while working with disaster survivors can serve as a model for us all.”
Spencer and Ward were joined by General (Ret.) Stanley A. McChrystal, the former commander of U.S. and international forces in Afghanistan, in thanking the graduates for their service to country.
After completing training in March 2013, FEMA Corps members deployed across the United States to provide both immediate response and long-term recovery support in emergency management. They supported communities affected by Hurricane Sandy, the tornado in Moore, Okla., flooding in Colorado and Illinois, and more. When not assigned to immediate disaster response, the teams served FEMA in locations across the country assisting with longer-term recovery operations.
The joint partnership between FEMA and CNCS is a five-year program that that will engage thousands of FEMA Corps members in all aspects of emergency management by responding to disasters across the country. Their service has contributed to delivering disaster assistance in a more expedited way by combining their resources and technology to help register disaster survivors in person.
As part of their service, FEMA Corps graduates will receive a Segal AmeriCorps Education Award to help them pay for college or pursue other learning opportunities in and out of emergency management.
“Experiencing tears of gratitude, kind words, and warm hospitality from disaster survivors in light of their recent losses has touched me the most. The human spirit is out there, even in times of trial, it is alive and well,” said graduating FEMA Corps member Michelle Simes. “The experiences I have had in this program have reaffirmed my decision 100 percent to pursue my masters of social work degree next year, in hopes that I might devote the rest of my life to the service and growth of others.”
FEMA Corps members are based out of all five AmeriCorps NCCC regional hubs across the country: Sacramento, Calif., Denver, Colo., Vinton, Iowa, Vicksburg, Miss., and Perry Point, Md.
FEMA's mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards. For more information, visit FEMA.gov.