News Front Page

Wednesday 21 November 2012

Father and daughter to spend Thanksgiving aiding survivors of disasters in the US and abroad
Father and daughter to spend Thanksgiving aiding survivors of disasters in the US and abroad

ShelterBox Response Team volunteer, Mark Dyer aid disaster survivors in Niger, 2009.

Father and daughter, Mark and Sarah Dyer, of the Chicago area, will spend Thanksgiving delivering aid to families affected by disasters in Nigeria and the US, respectively.

Mark, a ShelterBox Response Team volunteer with ShelterBox is en route to Nigeria  with to deliver emergency shelter and other aid to families affected by widespread flooding. His daughter, Sarah, has been in New Jersey with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), providing aid in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

Mark is a member of the ShelterBox Response Team (SRT), a group of highly trained volunteers that respond to disasters such as earthquake, volcano, flood, hurricane, cyclone, tsunami or conflict, by delivering boxes of aid to families in need. Each box includes a disaster relief tent, water purification kit, cook-stoves, blankets and other supplies that help families survive and rebuild their lives in the days, weeks, even months following disaster.

An SRT arrived in Nigeria on Oct. 28 to assess damage and need for aid after the country experienced the worst flooding it has seen in 50 years, which displaced more than one million people from their homes.  A second team arrived on Nov. 14 and immediately began working with local government, Rotary clubs and other key partners to distribute ShelterBoxes. Mark and the rest of the third SRT will arrive this week.

This will be the third year in a row Mark has spent Thanksgiving on a deployment. Last year and in 2010, Mark was in Columbia responding to devastating floods during the holiday week.

ShelterBox is currently responding to Hurricane Sandy in the US and Haiti, the Syrian refugee crisis in Iraq, flooding and ongoing conflict in the Sahel region of West Africa, earthquakes in Guatemala, and widespread flooding in Senegal and Uganda.

After graduating from the University of Missouri in May and spending her summer teaching English to children in South Korea, Sarah Dyer decided to postpone her plans for graduate studies when she learned of her acceptance into the FEMA Corps program.

FEMA Corps is a partnership between FEMA and the AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) program, which enables as many as 1,600 volunteers to devote their service to disaster preparedness, response and recovery. Sarah is among 230 volunteers that comprise the first FEMA Corps class.

Sarah has been working in Fort Dix, N.J., as a Public Assistance Project Specialist. Before Sandy hit, she and her peers were stationed in Denton, Texas, providing administrative support in the aftermath of Hurricane Isaac.

Key Stories