Main Content

Blog

Author: David Myers
Many faith-based leaders understand the role their facilities and congregations can play if disaster should strike.  The Archbishop of New Orleans put it plainly as he talked about the city’s recovery in the 10 years since Hurricane Katrina:One of his comments encompasses my view on this partnership: “Faith-based groups and government can work together for the common good of a community.”What we’ve learned from faith leaders in New Orleans and across the country are the better we prepare ourselves and our families, the better we are able to pitch-in and help when...
Posted On: September 15, 2015
Author: David Myers
“What can I do to protect my house of worship against emergencies or disasters?”It’s a question that I’ve heard far too often and with increasing concern lately. Fortunately, over the past several years, faith leaders representing various traditions have been partnering with local first responders and emergency managers to increase the safety of their congregants by developing emergency operations plans.The DHS Center of Faith-based & Neighborhood Partnerships, one of 13 federal centers associated with the White House Office of Faith-based & Neighborhood...
Posted On: July 28, 2015
Author: David Myers
History is a great teacher. Associate Pastor Ben Davidson of Bethany Community Church learned a valuable lesson during Hurricane Katrina in 2005 that benefitted him and his congregation the morning of Nov. 17, 2013, when a powerful tornado tore through Washington IL. His quick thinking reminds me when disasters occur; having a plan can save lives and help pivot a community toward a strong recovery. I have learned this lesson many times through the faith leaders I’ve engaged as director of the DHS Center for Faith-based & Neighborhood Partnerships.On Sunday morning Pastor...
Posted On: December 17, 2013
Author: David Myers
Roland Phillips, a leader of the French and Indian community called Grand Bayou in Plaquemines Parish, LA, had ridden out five hurricanes, including Katrina. So he decided to stay put for Hurricane Isaac, which hit land on Aug. 29, 2012. “I’ll never stay through a storm again,” Phillips told me. “It was the worst I ever experienced. It stayed on top of us for two days and two nights; it just ate us up.”CAPTION: LaPlace, La., Sep. 13, 2012 -- Volunteers from Samaritan’s Purse International Relief install blue tarp to keep rain from a home damaged by Hurricane Isaac.Hurricane Isaac may not have...
Posted On: September 25, 2012
Author: David Myers
Bennington, Vt., Aug. 17, 2012 -- FEMA Deputy Director, Richard Serino, (head of table) leads the FEMA Think Tank on the role of faith-based and community organizations in advancing the whole community approach to emergency management.On August 17, we had a productive conversation about the role of faith-based and community organizations in emergency management. We heard a local story that involved Vermont organizations working together during Hurricane Irene. We heard about the creation of mutually-beneficial partnerships between faith-based, community organizations and emergency managers....
Posted On: August 24, 2012
Author: David Myers
Disasters can strike at anytime, anywhere, and can have a devastating impact.  Often the first on the scene to reach out to survivors and assist first responders are members of local faith-based and community organizations who are friends and neighbors. This will be the theme of this month’s Think Tank held in Bennington, VT.  Hosted by FEMA Deputy Administrator Richard Serino, the Think Tank’s discussion will focus on faith-based organizations’ role in advancing the Whole Community approach in working with Emergency Managers.Callers from around the nation will be able to...
Posted On: August 14, 2012
Author: David Myers
Editor's note: This was originally posted June 28, 2012, on the White House blog by David L. Myers, Director of the Department of Homeland Security Center for Faith-based & Neighborhood Partnerships. Tornadoes and fires hold more in common than being disasters: they can also make good neighbors.This is uniquely true in Boligee, AL, a small rural town near the Mississippi border, and Hartville, OH, near Akron. It's a great story of faith communities helping each other -- and it has a beautiful twist at the end.The story begins in and around Boligee in 1996, when four African American...
Posted On: July 11, 2012
Author: David Myers
Tuscaloosa, AL, May 6, 2011 -- FEMA Deputy Richard Serino and a Salvation Army Officer discuss ways to help survivors in the Tuscaloosa area from the April 27th tornado.Since a series of deadly tornadoes and storms struck much of the southeast last month, thousands from around the country have pitched in to help disaster survivors – by donating money, sending clothes or offering prayers.  A recent story in the New York Times highlighted the ongoing efforts of faith-based groups in the recovery, as they work with the emergency management team to meet the basic needs of disaster...
Posted On: May 20, 2011
Author: David Myers
Throughout this week, we have been honoring the service and commitment of our nation’s volunteers. As President Obama said earlier this week: "America's story has been marked by the service of volunteers. Generations of selfless individuals from all walks of life have served each other and our Nation, each person dedicated to making tomorrow better than today…Volunteers are the lifeblood of our schools and shelters, hospitals and hotlines, and faith-based and community groups. From mentoring at-risk youth and caring for older Americans to supporting our veterans and military families and...
Posted On: April 14, 2011