The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

March 16, 2012

Our View: FEMA Corps

A winning idea

The Joplin Globe

— No city in America is more grateful for AmeriCorps than Joplin.

No city believes more in the group’s mission.

These young people have been with us since day one, and while their hours can be counted and a dollar value put upon their labor, what they have given to and done for Joplin since May 22 is immeasurable.

So the minute we heard that a new disaster-only unit of AmeriCorps will be created to work alongside the Federal Emergency Management Agency, we were on board.

What a great idea!

The plan is to train 1,600 young people around the country for emergency management. They will work alongside FEMA in the early days of a disaster, and also will be able to step into some traditional FEMA roles, taking over for agency personnel and saving the federal government millions of dollars annually.

FEMA will still focus on some of the most pressing and more demanding tasks in an emergency — search and rescue, providing shelters and debris removal. The new FEMA Corps, as it’s being called, will staff recovery center offices and coordinate volunteers, among other things. The group has been doing some of that in Joplin, anyway, organizing donations, supervising volunteers and helping with debris removal and cleanup.

AmeriCorps has done heroic service for Joplin. Tapping deeper into its strengths just makes sense.