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Impact of AmeriCorps response to Hurricane Irma

By: Kristina Luotto

Conservation Corps Minnesota & Iowa and AmeriCorps NCCC crews have been deployed to Southwest Florida for two weeks now. We are staying in the Fort Myers area, assisting survivors of Hurricane Irma. Wind and water damage from Irma are visibly apparent throughout the community, preventing life from returning to “normal.” AmeriCorps teams have been out in the community working on hazard tree removal, blue tarp temporary roofing, and debris removal. Our work directly assists people on the road to recovery. Javier is one of the first homeowners we assisted upon starting our field operations in SW Florida. Our field crews used chainsaws to perform hazard tree and vegetative debris removal from his property. Below is a photo of the crew with Javier during a lunch break. Morale was high, as Javier provided a lunch of cold drinks and pizza for the crew. We received a message from Javier after completing work on this property. His response shows the positive impact of AmeriCorps Disaster Response Teams and the reason why we do what we do!

Message from Javier:
“Hello my friends! This is Javier… I haven’t stop talking with my friends and family about you guys! What you guys did left a beautiful mark in my heart. Yesterday I woke up feeling that it was a dream…but my yard says it was a reality, and it fills my heart with hope looking at young guys spreading happiness everywhere, serving others in need. You guys are the clear representation of the real human nature…LOVE! I feel more than blessed for the whole experience… Thanks so much! Many blessings and remember…you guys have a friend here! Hugs!”

Disaster Response Group.PNG

Here are some quick stats from our first 3 days of field operations:

– 66 AmeriCorps members, 19 Minnesota & Iowa Conservation Corps

– 1715 cubic yards of vegetative debris cleared

– 54 hazard trees removed

– 9 roofs temporarily repaired

– 18 home work orders completed