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Disaster Response Leaders Gather for Training

Story by Beth Michaels

Conference Disaster Response (DR) coordinators from around the Columbia Union and their local leaders gathered at the union office in Columbia, Md., earlier this month to report on their training initiatives and to lay plans for joint training events and collaborative responses to local disasters.

Wayne Hancock, DR coordinator for the Mountain View Conference, reported on how his churches assisted in a recent coal mining accident by providing crisis counseling. Roy Nelson, DR coordinator for the Ohio Conference, shared how his churches have been opening donation collection centers to assist victims of the recent floods to hit their state.

The highlight of the morning was a special presentation by Don Bonchack, the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) national director for Donations Management, and Craig Crosby, FEMA’s director for region 3, which covers Washington, D.C., Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia. The presentation outlined FEMA’s role in responding to a disaster and explained how local nonprofit organizations can partner with FEMA in serving their local communities.

Frank Bondurant, vice president for Ministries Development for the Columbia Union Conference, presented a plaque of appreciation to Bob Mitchell for his outstanding service as the union’s DR coordinator for the past five years. “The Columbia Union owes a debt of gratitude and appreciation to Bob for the leadership and service he has provided our local conferences in this area of disaster response,” said Bondurant.

Those interested in learning more about the Disaster Response ministry or how to participate in a local training event, visit columbiaunion.org and click on “Services” and then “Adventist Community Services.”