By David Hasemyer, FEMA External Affairs, DR-4085-NY
FEMA Corps members assembled at Borough Hall, Staten Island, N.Y., recently to be recognized for their hard work in assisting Staten Island survivors after Hurricane Sandy. By proclamation, March 8 had been designated “FEMA Corps Day” by a thankful community.
The group of young FEMA Corps members stood in a semi-circle behind Staten Island Borough, President James Molinaro with beaming smiles and an obvious sense of pride.
“All Staten Islanders join together to commend the members of FEMA Corps for their hard work and dedication to helping our Island recover and rebuild after Hurricane Sandy,” the proclamation read.
The 17 young people who participated in the ceremony were part of the 98 FEMA Corps members who served the people of Staten Island, N.Y., beginning just a few days after Sandy struck. They knocked on doors to check the welfare of people; they followed up to make sure any possible needs were being met. The compassion of these young men and women came through as they showed they cared.
“FEMA Corps is made up of young people with giving hearts,” said Tia Verhasselt, a FEMA Corps member and designated spokesperson for the Staten Island, N.Y., group. “They are people who have decided to give up 10 months of their lives for the well-being of others.”
“This is something that will live with us for the rest of our lives,” said Verhasselt.
The program was launched last year and is designed to prepare thousands of young people for careers in emergency management and related fields. It also provides needed support to FEMA’s disaster response and recovery efforts.
During their FEMA Corps service, these young people ages 18 to 24 gain training and experience in disaster services and provide important support to disaster survivors. What they give, they get back in life experience.
“All Staten Islanders,” the proclamation concluded, “wish them all the best as they continue in their missions of service to those in need.”