FRANKFORT, Ky. -- Dave Kitzman walks in and out of trainees bent over computers, pointing to a notation and offering encouragement to the group learning the ins and outs of the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Public Assistance Program.
Kitzman is one of 60 U.S. Army Corps of Engineers retirees called up for temporary duty to assist in documenting damages from the catastrophic ice storm that struck Kentucky in January.
"All our guys are excited to be here to help speed up the recovery process," said Kitzman, a team leader from Port Richey, Fla. "We make ourselves available for this kind of duty because we like to help folks get their lives back together.''
The Corps retirees - representing more than 1,000 years of technical assistance - were assigned the mission by FEMA. They are teaming with public assistance specialists from Kentucky and FEMA to help guide applicants through the reimbursement process. They also are helping with debris issues.
"The Public Assistance process represents the first step to public infrastructure recovery from January's devastating ice storm," said Brig. Gen. John W. Heltzel, director of the Kentucky Division of Emergency Management. "We appreciate the help FEMA and the Corps are bringing to communities across the Commonwealth recovering from this very costly disaster."
FEMA Federal Coordinating Officer Kim R. Kadesch added that the Army Corps is a valuable partner in disaster response and recovery.
"We mission-assigned them to support our Public Assistance effort in Kentucky because of their technical expertise," he said. "They historically bring a unique level of depth and experience where we need them."
The Army Corps veterans completed a three-day orientation program at the Kentucky/FEMA Joint Field Office in Frankfort before being dispersed across the Commonwealth.
FEMA often works with other agencies with unique qualifications to handle special situations during a disaster, such as transportation, mass care, health and safety. During this disaster, FEMA partners also included the U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. Department of Transportation, U.S Department of Health and Human Services, and the U.S. Forest Service.
NOTE: For related photos go to www.photolibrary.fema.gov/ enter disaster number 1818 and Army Corps in key words.
FEMA leads and supports the nation in a risk-based, comprehensive emergency management system of preparedness, protection, response, recovery, and mitigation, to reduce the loss of life and property and protect the nation from all hazards including natural disasters, acts of terrorism, and other man-made disasters.