AmeriCorps Deploys More Response Teams to Tennessee

Jan 25, 2017

Nearly 100 national service members assist in wildfire recovery efforts

WASHINGTON, D.C. –  The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), the federal agency that administers AmeriCorps, announced that more than 60 additional national service members have been deployed to support the response to the wildfires in Tennessee. Nearly 100 AmeriCorps members have been dispatched to the region since CNCS announced its first resources on the ground in early December.

This deployment includes the AmeriCorps Disaster Response Teams (A-DRT), CNCS’ elite, specialty-trained crew deployed at the request of local and federal emergency managers. Since January 4, these teams have provided expert manpower for everything from chain sawing to donations management, public information outreach and needs assessments. AmeriCorps NCCC, AmeriCorps St. Louis Emergency Response Team (ERT), and Washington Conservation Corps AmeriCorps members have been assisting with critical tasks for the past two months.

“The national service family stands shoulder to shoulder with those affected by in the devastating fire in their time of need, with AmeriCorps members at the ready to help their neighbors as they begin to rebuild from this tragic event," said Kelly DeGraff, senior advisor for disaster services at the Corporation for National and Community Service. “Working hand-in-hand with local partners, AmeriCorps members are providing vital relief to affected communities. We will continue to support residents and families as they begin to recover over the long haul.

CNCS is coordinating closely with state and local authorities to monitor and assess additional resources needed within the community. In addition, the agency is working with Volunteer Tennessee, the state service commission responsible for implementing national service programs across the state.

Following a disaster, national service acts as a force multiplier, providing key resources and significantly expanding the capacity of existing organizations on the ground. More than 40,000 AmeriCorps and Senior Corps members were deployed in response to Hurricane Katrina. In the decade since, AmeriCorps teams have provided critical support after countless disasters, including the Flint, Mich. water emergency, 2016 Louisiana Flood, 2014 Southeast Michigan flood, Hurricane Sandy, the 2013 floods in Colorado, tornadoes in Joplin, Mo., Tuscaloosa, Ala., and Moore, Okla., the explosion in West, Texas, and the Deepwater Horizon BP Oil Spill

Through all its programs and initiatives, CNCS helps communities to prepare for, mitigate, respond, and recover from disasters. AmeriCorps members and Senior Corps volunteers can serve in a wide range of high-level roles, including assisting with evacuation and special needs residents, supporting long-term recovery, running volunteer centers and base camps, and leading large groups of volunteers.

Currently, more than 5,350 Tennessee residents serve through AmeriCorps and Senior Corps in more than 1,000 locations across the state. They tutor and mentor children, support veterans and military families, provide health services, restore the environment, respond to disasters, increase economic opportunity, and recruit and manage volunteers. CNCS has committed more than $18 million to support Tennessee communities through national service initiatives, which leveraged an additional $26.6 million in other resources to strengthen community impact.

More than 12,000 Tennessee residents have served more than 24 million hours since the program’s inception in 1994, earning Segal AmeriCorps Education Awards, or scholarships, totaling more than $42.8 million. 

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