AmeriCorps St. Louis September 2015 e-Newsletter
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South Carolina Flood Response

On November 12, AmeriCorps St. Louis deployed on the first disaster response of Year 22! Six Emergency Response Team members headed east to Columbia, South Carolina to assist with the recovery efforts after all the flooding that began in early October. Members are currently operating out of the Joint Field Office, working closely with FEMA and multiple volunteer agencies. The team's main objective is to organize and implement a Fast Track program that matches homeowners with VOADs in order to begin home repairs as soon as possible. 

Member Reflections on South Carolina Deployment

Saying Goodbye For Now
By Brittany Merriman

 
The day had finally come: our first disaster team was set to leave from headquarters on a month-long deployment.
As I stood in the large office, watching those who were to be left behind give the departing team exuberant well-wishes, I thought of how far we'd come: a group of young adults who were by and large complete strangers less than 3 months ago were now saying goodbye to each other the way old friends often do...
Checking In from SC
by Amital Orzech

 
What I’ve liked about this project so far is that it seems to embody what we in ERT our taught from day one of orientation, that a disaster begins and ends within the community. This process, Fast Track, allows home damage reports to be logged on Crisis Cleanup by volunteer agencies within the community and the cases are then adopted by organizations that have the ability to make the repairs. 

Read what else the team is up to!
Share The Warmth Success!
On the beautiful evening of November 10, AmeriCorps St. Louis hosted the 6th annual Share The Warmth fundraiser. We had a fantastic turnout with a huge variety of prizes and over 15 different chili recipes for our guests to try and vote on for our chili cook-off! Most importantly, we raised $3,092 for our Winter Warming Shelter!

Thank you to our Junior Board for planning, setting up and facilitating this wonderful event. Thank you also to our ERT members who helped out and to Natalie and Brianna for being our awesome bartenders! 


A highlight of the evening was being introduced to Ray Harter, an engineer with Civil Design, Inc. Ray introduced us to the president of his company, Vicki LaRose. Together, Ray and Vicki connected us with a contractor, Greg Zuzack of Landco Construction, who, in turn, introduced us to John Krauska from Kent Plumbing, Inc. We were absolutely delighted to find out that the three companies are working together to install our FIRST-EVER shower for our shelter!!! Also, Crescent Plumbing Supply is donating all the shower stall material! Thank you a million times over to Ray, Vicki, Greg, John, and the folks at Crescent Supply! If you ever need an engineer, contractor, or plumber, these are the go-to people! Give us a call and we'll be happy to pass along their information. 
A huge thank you to these wonderful organizations and our many anonymous friends who have made generous donations to Share The Warmth:
 
Blues City Deli
Debra Penna-Fredericks
Mardi Gras St. Louis
9th Street Deli
The Peacemaker Lobster & Crab Co.
Purina Pet Foods
Schlafly Beer
The Shaved Duck
Traditional Congregation
Tucker's Steakhouse
Urban Chestnut

 
If you are interested in becoming involved with planning more fundraisers, contact the Junior Board at acstljuniorboard@gmail.com
Winter Warming Shelter
We Need Volunteers!!!
We CANNOT run our Winter Warming Shelter alone! We need your help! Please please please, if you live in St. Louis and can get to Soulard, come hang out with our shelter guests, watch movies, serve meals, and play games. YOU are the game changer! The shelter is officially opening on December 1st. 
Call Lori at 314-772-9002 if you are interested! 
Even if you cannot volunteer at our Winter Warming Shelter, you can still make a HUGE difference by giving a monetary or in kind donation. Any contribution, large or small, is greatly appreciated by our shelter guests and those serving to give them a safe place to stay on frigid nights. 
 
***For in kind donations, please call our office at 314-772-9002*** 

With the addition of our new shower, we need TOWELS!
They don't have to be new, just in decent condition. Consider having a towel drive at your office or with your neighbors. 

Fire Helmet Fundraiser Update

We did it!!! Thanks to all the people who donated and helped spread the word about this fundraiser, we raised all the money we needed for 30 new fire helmets! All the members are very excited. Again, thank you to everyone who donated and shared our story.
We couldn't have done this without you!
Missouri Department of Conservation
and US Forest Service
Volunteer Fire Department Assistance Grants

Once again, ACSTL ERT was awarded $2,500 out of the Matching Grant Program with the Missouri Department of Conservation, Forestry Division, in conjunction with the US Forest Service, Volunteer Fire Assistance Program. ERT was one of the 186 fire departments and response teams that received funding to help with the purchase of personal protective gear and firefighting equipment for wildfire suppression efforts. We were required to match 50% of the funds, which we did successfully through the fire helmet fundraiser! Thank you to everyone involved. We not only got new fire helmets, we got $2,500 to buy other needed safety equipment!   
A-DRT Iowa Conference
Bruce Bailey, Will Burks, Kenan Ender, and Kelley Hower represented the ACSTL ERT at the first-ever AmeriCorps Disaster Response Team Conference, hosted by CNCS. Members from most of the A-DRTs, as well as representatives from CNCS and the Iowa State Commission, convened at Springbrook State Park in Iowa for a packed 5 days of training, round-table discussions, standard setting, information sharing, and story telling. The goal of the conference was to establish a way to standardize disaster training and best practices for all A-DRTs. It was a fun and very informative week. We are excited to see what comes out of all the ideas presented and discussed.

Pack Test Round 2

On a cold, windy and rainy Saturday morning, eight ERT members battled the elements and successfully passed the Pack Test! Special shout out to our fellow members and friends who came out to support and cheer us on! You are the best!
Member Reflections
Check out these stories from a couple 2nd Years!
 
Welcome to 2105
by Sarah Wood

We had spent the morning felling hazard trees from the side of the path, ensuring the safety of pedestrians and preventing future clean up by park staff. As we chatted and snacked, an elderly man approached our group. Other walkers on the trail had asked about our work or our organization, but this man had alternative commentary...
 
Seeing the Results
by Carrie Stephen

We worked very hard the first two days, as there was a storm predicted for that week. We didn't finish installing all of our check dams before the storm hit, but we installed enough that we could see how they had faired in the weather...
Alumni News
We regret to inform our ERT community that we have lost one of our own. Michael Victor Harrington, a Year 12 alum, passed away on November 4. Our hearts go out to Michael's family, friends and Year 12 teammates. He will be missed.
Joel Lambert and Sheryl Thomas, Years 15 and 16, tied the knot on August 16th in Las Vegas, surrounded by family from across the country. Sheryl says she thanks AmeriCorps everyday for allowing her to meet her wonderful husband. We are very happy for you both!
Kevin Koenig, Year 13, and Pat Reid, Years 13 and 14, got married this past July in Wisconsin! Many ACSTL-ers were in attendance, with both Years 12 and 13 being represented. Pat and Kevin now live in Chicago. Kevin works for NORC-University of Chicago, and Pat is getting a graduate degree in the School of Public Service at DePaul University. Best wishes to the happy couple!
Lindsay Armstrong and Aaron Wesley, Year 15, got married on Halloween this year at the City Museum in St. Louis! Looks like it was a fun-filled occasion. Congratulations to Lindsay and Aaron!
Charles Maxwell, an ERT member during Year 13, is getting his PhD in Environmental Science at Portland State University. He is currently working with faculty members Robert Scheller and Melissa Lucash on the Klamath Climate and Wildfire study. Their research on forest type-shifts was featured on Oregon Public Broadcasting radio in a segment called "Climate Change, Wildfires Transforming NW Forests." Keep up the great work, Charles! 
*If you are an alum with big news, let us know! We want to keep your AmeriCorps family updated.  If you have any announcements, please email them to acstl.web@gmail.com
Please consider making a financial donation to AmeriCorps St. Louis to ensure our Emergency Response Team is able to continue responding. Every dollar you give means that our team is able to be out there, meeting the needs of people whose lives have been turned upside down. 
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