FEMA Corps Bayou 2 Team
Corps Member Maggie Wagner (Left) and Team Leader Katie Moriarty (Right) volunteer with the American Red cross for the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service.
If you’ve visited the State Operations Center in Austin lately, you may have seen the bright, young faces of Bayou 2’s members gracing the halls of the TDEM offices. This group of young adults has come to us through FEMA Corps, an organization that brings together FEMA and AmeriCorps, the federal government’s corporation for national and community service. FEMA Corps members are between the ages of 18-24 and agree to dedicate ten months of their lives to serving their country by assisting FEMA as it prepares for, protects against, responds to, recovers from and mitigates all hazards. In addition, the team completes a number of Independent Service Projects (ISP) each week, ranging from aiding Habitat for Humanity projects to spending time with the elderly in assisted care facilities. They receive training, housing, and a small living allowance in exchange for their service.
Bayou 2 has been sent by the FEMA Region VI office to assist the state as it streamlines the resource request process on the logistical side of emergency management. Each of the seven team members has sifted through large quantities of data from past disasters, organizing the information into charts and graphs, making it easier to grasp just how much of any single resource is typically needed in the event of a disaster. In addition, the team has started to create a detailed resource catalogue in an attempt to make requesting resources easier for those assisting disaster survivors.
Daniella LaGuerre (Left) and Nathan Bennick (Right) lay donated grass for the Austin Zoo and Animal Sanctuary
Working directly under the guidance of the TDEM Logistics Section Coordinator, Wade Parks, these corps members have learned a great deal. Speaking of his experiences with the work so far, Bayou 2’s Assistant Team Leader, Curtis Helton, said, “It makes you want to do something with your life. Live for something or die for nothing.”
The FEMA Corps team will be working with the state until the end of April when they will return to their Vicksburg, Mississippi base for graduation from the program. Upon graduation, the Corps members will be given a monetary educational award to assist them as they go forward with their education. Having spent so much time serving others, the team has learned the importance of community service, and each member plans to continue being of service for the remainder of their term and beyond.
Bayou 2 helps Austin Habitat for Humanity at a home build
The team visits the Texas Division of the Salvation Army’s Emergency Disaster Services to learn about disaster response. Left to right: Daniella LaGuerre, Maggie Wagner, Katie Moriarty, Simon Peterson, Nathan Bennick, Curtis Helton, and Jasmine Quarles.