The Utah Conservation Corps (UCC) at Utah State University concluded a disaster response deployment in North Carolina January 31. The deployment began Oct. 11, 2018 after Hurricane Florence affected thousands of residents in the region. UCC led a group of other AmeriCorps Disaster Response Teams including National Civilian Community Corps, Conservation Corps Minnesota and Iowa, St. Bernard Project, Washington Conservation Corps and Conservation Corps New Mexico. A total of 138 AmeriCorps from these programs served residents in Duplin, Jones, Pender, Lenoir, Onslow and Bladen Counties. These AmeriCorps members conducted 142 damage assessments, mucked and gutted 41 structures, temporarily repaired and/or tarped the roofs of 27 homes, removed 781.5 cubic yards of debris and sorted 45,542 ponds of donations.
“I am proud of what we have accomplished here,” said Kayla Williams, UCC incident commander. “These AmeriCorps members have been so dedicated to this work and these communities. It will be hard for everyone to leave this community because of what still needs to be accomplished here and how much we have connected to these towns but we have left this area knowing that we put in our all.”
During the tail end of the deployment the AmeriCorps programs turned their attention to
teaching community disaster preparedness to local governments and community members. They were also involved in resiliency efforts to assist residents in the road of getting back to a new normal. The AmeriCorps members aided residents in forming Community Organizations Active in Disaster (COADs) to be able to provide an ongoing network of neighbor-to-neighbor assistance.
As a member of the AmeriCorps Disaster Response Team, UCC is expertly trained to provide support for shelter operations, call centers, volunteer and donation management, muck and gut operations, blue-roof tarping and debris cleanup, among other services. Over the past two years the UCC has responded to disasters Louisiana, North Carolina, Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.
The UCC, based out of USU’s Center for Cmmunity Engagement, was formed in 2001 with a mission to develop the conservation leaders of tomorrow. Since 2001, more than 1,400 UCC AmeriCorps members have served over one million hours creating or maintaining 3,442 miles of trail and 425 miles of fence, restoring 41,653 acres of public land and reaching 332,250 students with environmental education.
More information on UCC can be found at http://www.usu.edu/ucc.