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Adventist Community Services Helps New Jersey Prepare for Emergencies

By Taashi Rowe

Adventist Community Services (ACS) recently received a letter of commendation from New Jersey’s Office of Emergency Management for helping the state with a training exercise.

New Jersey recently conducted one of the largest training exercises ever held in that state at the New Jersey State Police Academy in Sea Girt, N.J. Claudia Ramirez and Norman Talley, conference coordinators for disaster response along with Catherine Schofield, assistant coordinator for the southern area; and Bill Schofield, a disaster response volunteer, helped to train 1,000 volunteers.

The letter from the state read: “Your cadre of ACS workers assisted with the Donations Management training that was conducted periodically throughout the day. Your staff was instrumental in the development and set up of this training that was designed to introduce [our] volunteers to a critical component of disaster services and the role that your organization plays. Without their participation, it is doubtful that the event would have been successful. Their performance and work ethic reflect great credit upon themselves and the New Jersey Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.”

“Volunteers moved from station to station for different types of training so every 40 minutes we got a new group of people that we taught how they can help us during a disaster,” explained Ramirez, a member of the Cherry Hill church, who has been doing disaster response for more than 8 years.

“Ninety-eight percent of those people had never heard of Seventh-day Adventists before and now 1,000 people in New Jersey know us,” she added excitedly.

Wayne Hancock, New Jersey’s ACS director was pleased with the commendation. “It is because of Claudia and Norman’s networking skills and passion for helping others that we even got involved in this training. This group has brought real life to ACS here in New Jersey.”

Next year ACS will hold disaster response training at the Vineland Spanish church in June and another at the Toms River church in November.