UCC Pennsylvania Southeast Conference Disaster Coordinator Karl Jones is National VOAD's Volunteer of the Year. He was presented with that honor last night (May 8) during the association's annual meeting, being held May 6-9 in Nashville, Tenn. National VOAD (Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster) cited Jones' long-time partnership with people and communities in recovery following disasters, both within and beyond the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
Member organizations of National VOAD work to mitigate and alleviate the impact of disasters. Founded in 1970, the VOAD movement has grown to include more than 100 member organizations. Guided by the core principles of cooperation, communication, coordination, and collaboration, National VOAD works to foster more effective delivery of services to communities affected by disasters.
Here is the text from the award presentation:
"The National VOAD's Don Hampton Volunteer of the Year is the volunteer that exhibited outstanding and unique volunteer service within the VOAD movement. Karl Jones, of UCC Disaster Ministries and recent chair of the Pennsylvania VOAD, has been a long time partner of people and communities in recovery following disasters, both within and well beyond the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
"Karl’s leadership and ability to collaborate with partners to creatively leverage resources available has been proven both in helping communities following severe flooding along the Schuylkill and Susquehanna River, and in response to evacuees of Hurricane Maria.
"For Hurricane Maria evacuee response, Karl leveraged HUD funds in partnership with the Philadelphia Housing Authority, identified partners from the Hispanic community for the Greater Philadelphia LTRC* and coordinated VOAD members, business, and all levels of government, to bring relief to evacuees.
"In response to heavy rain events in August 2018, Karl liaised between VOAD members and emergency management to assist in the use of Crisis Cleanup for the first time, led efforts to develop and pilot the VALOR program in Pennsylvania, and found ways to mobilize unique resources, such as a donation of a cache of dehumidifiers.
"Karl has been key in coordinating services to diverse communities from North Philadelphia, to tiny towns in rural Pennsylvania, with enough hope to believe in the process, and work together during times when these survivors were at risk of being forgotten."
* Long-Term Recovery Recovery Committee