The short and honest answer is by accident. When Joplin got hit by an EF-5 tornado I initially went up there to help a friend clear debris. However, AmeriCorps was asking for anyone who was a vet, who had been a firefighter, medical professional or involved in law enforcement to join the emergency search and rescue teams they were forming to help traditional rescue groups since so many people were missing. Since I was in the army and had spent some time on a volunteer fire department I answered the call. It changed the entire direction of my life. On my first day in Joplin they had reports of over 1500 missing people. Thankfully most of them turned out to either not be missing, or counted multiple times. Even so 160 people had died and over a thousand were injured. The emergency team I was assigned to was given the call sign Yankee 1. After Joplin we decided to stay together and become more than just people thrust into the job by circumstance. Since then we have deployed multiple times, have incorporated as a 501 (c) 3 and begun the process of becoming trained and equipped to work in ruined neighborhoods safely and effectively.
- How are rescue crews responding to storm rescue and recovery in Oklahoma?
- What have you found are the most useful tools in SAR?
- How does your volunteer team get its funding?
- What are the biggest challenges you face?
- How did you become a SAR Leader?
- How was your team involved in the Hurricane Sandy Rescue Efforts?