The Green River Area Development District (GRADD) Homeland Security Corps was established September 1, 2002, to address disaster response needs in the Green River Area Seven-County District. It exceeded everyone’s expectations for the first year of service. The agency committed the members to educating 1,000 community members with regard to disaster preparedness and response – they educated 38,000! The agency committed the members to recruiting and assisting in training 600 volunteers over a three year period to serve with disaster affiliated agencies – they recruited 375 new volunteers in just the first year! The agency committed the members to establishing a network of community rapid responders who would collaborate to create a Citizen Corps Council and begin training Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT). Again, they achieved their goal!
Finally, members were able to take a mapping system that the local government had established but had never utilized, and enter data to create maps that all emergency responders have access to. This bridged a gap between city and county governments by sharing information.
All these exceeded goals were part of a work plan for the AmeriCorps grant, but no one anticipated the grant would pause on August 21 in its first service year of a three-year grant award, and not begin again until November 2003. The agencies that have grown to depend on these members were at risk of losing all assistance and putting programs like the Citizen Corps Council and CERT teams on hold. GRADD Homeland Security members refused to let this happen..
Among other tasks, GRADD Homeland Security Corps Members:
- Continue to maintain the Citizens Corps meetings every other month
- Educate an additional 3,000 individuals with regard to Small Pox vaccinations, West Nile Virus, and SARS.
- Assist in coordinating a statewide training for firefighters to be attended by nearly 2,000 firefighters.
- Attend training to continue their service,
- Continue entering in mapping data for emergency responders to use.
Since September 1, 2003, the members of the GRADD Homeland Security Corps have continued going to their service site, without the AmeriCorps living allowance of $9,800/year or reimbursement of travel costs, or even the ability to count their time as anything other than volunteer. They have put in a cumulative total of 1,036 hours just since September.