Program Served: AmeriCorps NCCC - 2005-2006; Chalmette/Violet, LA - St. Bernard Parish - Dept. of Recovery
Hometown: Arlington, VA
Alma Mater: Georgetown University
Currently: SIGTARP - Operations Manager Specialist; Arlington, VA
Alex Curley served as an AmeriCorps member in 2000-01, and joined AmeriCorps NCCC as a team leader in 2005. Curley had just graduated college and thought the experience would be good for her professional development. Then, one week into her term of service, Hurricane Katrina hit, which left her and her team focused on the Gulf Coast.
“While we were watching the events unfold on the news, everyone was glad that we were there to help initially,” said Curley.
Curley’s team facilitated many projects for the St. Bernard Parish Department of Recovery. Among these, the team facilitated the gutting of 734 homes, built and maintained a base camp, coordinated over 95,500 hours of volunteer service, trained 344 team leaders from other organizations, and facilitated the removal of 367,000,000 pounds of debris.
“What make Alex and her team unique from most that served during the first year of NCCC’s response is that they volunteered for and advocated to stay on the project assignment for more than one round,” said Allison Watkins, a current unit leader in Vinton, Iowa. “A team being on a project for more than two months, specifically disaster projects that are so physically and emotionally exhausting, was really unheard of up to that point.”
Curley described her team members as dedicated, passionate, and happy to work until the job was done. “All NCCC members feel their work is important, but I think having a first year with no disaster service and comparing it to one with disaster service, you feel a different sense of reward, and everyone felt it was really meaningful.”
Curley went on to work at the Corporation for National and Community Service Headquarters, and deployed to act as a liaison between FEMA and NCCC teams when Hurricane Ike hit. She currently is an Operations Management Specialist for the Special Inspector General of the Troubled Asset Relief Program and is working for her Master’s in Emergency and Disaster Management from Georgetown University, where she was the first Georgetown student to receive funds from the Segal AmeriCorps Education Award Program.
“When most people think of an emergency management professional, they think of people with first responder or military experience, but you don’t have to come from those backgrounds,” said Curley. “The field is becoming more diverse and my Georgetown cohort reflects that.”