Monday, April 6, 2015

Documentation of Tornado Volunteer Efforts Yields Financial Reward For Winston County

Volunteers from across the county and from across the country 
EMA Director Buddy King, County Advisor Brenda
Miles and Asst. EMA Director Jody Garrard
poured into Winston County to help after the April 28, 2014 tornado. Now, some fast thinking and detailed documentation efforts in those early days have brought over $300,000 into the County as a direct result of volunteers’ efforts.

According to Winston County Emergency Management Administrator Buddy King, by properly documenting the time donated by all individual and group volunteers, the County is eligible for FEMA reimbursement.

Said King, “We knew this benefit was there so by fully documenting over 35,000 hours of work, we were able to apply for a Donated Resources project related to the storm.”

Any kind of volunteer hours were eligible to be included in this project  - from volunteers at the Coliseum and emergency distribution centers, to volunteer fire departments, to volunteer agencies such as Samaritans Purse, search and rescue and even yard cleanup by volunteers.

King said, “We know some people were frustrated that they had to go through a sign-in process, however to get the full benefit of their volunteer efforts we had to have documentation.” King indicated that by providing documentation, volunteers were able to, in effect, double the benefits of their efforts.

Brenda Miles, the County’s financial advisor, indicated that cooperation by volunteers and volunteer organizations was key. “Volunteers completed sign in sheets and recorded their time. The sign in sheets helped us to produce spreadsheets required to meet FEMA requirements for documentation purposes. We filled several 4 inch binders.” indicated Miles.

12.5% of the $345,000 project is a required match by the County, however $301,812 will be received from FEMA and MEMA. The Donated Resources project is one of 13 projects totaling more than $23 million associated with repair and recovery after the April 28, 2014 storm did significant damage across the County.

King noted that due to the nature of this project, the funds received from FEMA and MEMA can be used in other ways. It is likely that these funds will be used to help meet matching fund requirements of some of the other recovery projects.