This blog features observations from Randy Turner, a former teacher, newspaper reporter and editor. Send news items or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
Volunteers have provided more than 1 million hours of service since Joplin Tornado
(From the City of Joplin)
When “a thousand points of light” was coined in recognizing volunteerism by former President George Bush in 1988, no one in Joplin probably realized the impact that message would have on our community years later. Yet without the volunteers working over ONE MILLION HOURS since the May 22, 2011 disaster, Joplin and Duquesne would not be as far along the recovery path as we are now.
City officials were recently notified that volunteers have provided more than one million hours of service in helping our communities. To be exact, 162,426 volunteers have provided 1,003,413 hours of service. This includes numerous faith-based groups, not-for-profit organizations and thousands of individuals from around the country who organized efforts and teams to help our community.
In conjunction with this notification, the City of Joplin was being noted for its efforts in working with volunteers and those organizations helping in the recovery efforts of Joplin and Duquesne. Last night Joplin City Manager Mark Rohr was recognized for his support for national service and his leadership in working with community partners and individuals who offered their time and talent at the “Friends of National Service” reception hosted in Washington, DC.
Rohr received the Local Leadership Award, which is awarded to individuals for leadership and innovation in leveraging national service to meet local needs. In announcing this award in a news release, they stated “Rohr played a pivotal role in effectively deploying national service resources to assist in the recovery efforts after the 2011 tornado hit Joplin.”
In learning of this honor, Rohr pointed back to the thousands of volunteers who have provided service and hard work for our community’s rebuilding. “Without the volunteers, and their willingness to come to Joplin, provide service to our citizens who they did not even know, Joplin would not be where we are today,” he said. “It is the commitment of these volunteers and their dedication to help us – over one million hours of their goodness -- that is the act to be honored. They have touched our hearts, and improved our lives. They truly demonstrate the Miracle of the Human Spirit.”
Voices for National Service is a coalition of national service organizations, state service commissions and individual champions, who work to spotlight the impact of national service programs, as well as ensure Americans of all ages have the opportunity to serve their country. National service addresses critical issues in communities across the country by providing the human capital needed to support education and health care initiatives, coordinate disaster relief and prevention and enable senior independence. Through this work, national service members deliver as much as $3.00 worth of services for every federal dollar invested, making service and volunteerism a smart investment in an era of limited federal resources.
AmeriCorps St. Louis established volunteer headquarters quickly in order to coordinate the continuous stream of volunteers coming to Joplin immediately following the tornado.
In addition to Rohr receiving an award for local leadership, Missouri State Representatives Bill White and Charlie Davis will also be recognized for their leadership at the state level.
Recipients are generally nominated by the membership of the organization. Because of the City’s strong support of national service, and continued positive coverage of the recovery, Rohr’s name was mentioned early in the process.
This award recognizes individuals for leadership and innovation in leveraging national service to meet local needs. Past honorees have included Mayors Mitch Landrieu, Michael Nutter, and Michael Bloomberg, as well as Representative David Cicilline and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. The annual reception honors national leaders from the public, private, and nonprofit sectors who have contributed to building a culture of citizenship, service, and responsibility within America.
Founded in 2003, the coalition is the respected voice for the service community in Washington, DC, building strong bipartisan support among our nation’s leaders for national service as a viable policy solution to tackle unmet needs, expand opportunity, and leverage social capital. Drawing on the combined experience and knowledge of the service community, Voices for National Service played a key role in the development of the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act.