Washington, D.C. - Two environmental groups, two corporations and the director of the National Hurricane Center are among the nine recipients of the first Outstanding Public Service Award presented by FEMA.
The award highlights the breadth of partnerships that are making Project Impact: Building Disaster Resistant Communities such a successful national prevention initiative.
"The awards are our way of thanking those influential individuals who have done so much to promote the concept of risk reduction in the past year," said FEMA Director James Lee Witt. "Without these people and their organizations, disasters would have a more severe impact across this nation, and wreak greater havoc."
David Conrad, of the National Wildlife Federation, and Kathryn Hohmann and Brett Hulsey, of the Sierra Club, received the award for helping to preserve floodplains and for educating the public about the critical role these key areas play in protecting communities from flooding. Both groups are working with FEMA to preserve floodplains as part of an overall national planning and land use policy.
Jamie Gorelick, vice chair of Fannie Mae, and Armen Khachadourian, senior vice president for new market development for VISA USA, were honored for their commitment to Project Impact goals. Both Fannie Mae and VISA were among the first corporations to join as Project Impact partners. Among other accomplishments, Fannie Mae has helped make low cost loans available to homeowners wanting to take damage prevention measures while VISA is making it easier for homeowners to buy flood insurance using their VISA credit cards and contributing a portion of each transaction to Project Impact communities.
To make Project Impact or any new initiative work, it takes unique individuals who have a vision and the energy to pursue it," Witt said. "The individuals who received this award are such leaders. Through Project Impact, they are helping to make this nation a better place for everyone."
Others receiving the award include:
- Jerry D. Jarrell, Director of the National Hurricane Center, for assistance in promoting and supporting hurricane emergency preparedness and for saving lives with accurate weather warnings;
- The Illinois Interagency Mitigation Advisory Group's Acquisition Relocation Committee for their work in accomplishing risk reduction and prevention activities throughout the state;
- Kim D. Lee, coordinator for the Wyoming Emergency Management Agency's Fremont County, for helping to build a sustainable disaster-resistant community;
- Chief Richard A. Marinucci, of the Farmington Hill (Michigan) Fire Department, for his lifelong commitment to America's fire service; and
- Daniel Shapiro, CEO of SOHA Engineers, for promoting innovative seismic rehabilitation engineering practices that will save lives and prevent future damage.