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Conservation Corps Minnesota & Iowa Deploys Nine Members to Puerto Rico


Melissa Cuff
Conservation Corps Minnesota & Iowa
651-209-9900, ext. 26 or 612-749-7345

Conservation Corps Minnesota & Iowa Deploys Nine Members to Puerto Rico

SAINT PAUL, Minn., July 19, 2018 – After a previous disaster relief deployment in response to Hurricane Maria in the fall of 2017, Conservation Corps Minnesota & Iowa deployed a new crew on Monday, July 16th to San Juan, Puerto Rico. This 30-day deployment of six AmeriCorps members and three staff will assist residents of San Juan who have been impacted by Hurricane Maria.

The crew headed to Puerto Rico will join other AmeriCorps Disaster Response Teams (A-DRT) including Southwest Conservation Corps (SCC), AmeriCorps St. Louis, and SBP (St. Bernard Project). Conservation Corps Minnesota & Iowa will take over operations as the other teams finish their deployments over the next few weeks.

The deployment is focused on serving the citizens of Puerto Rico. The goals are to 1) return individuals and families back to safe, sanitary, and secure homes; and 2) support local organizations in their efforts to aid Puerto Rico. The team will operate from a recovery office in Guaynabo and at Sacred Heart University in San Juan. Disaster relief activities will include developing a registry for high priority cases, referring cases with unmet needs, developing and conducting trainings for local organizations, and providing outreach across the island.

As part of the federal government’s ongoing recovery efforts, the Corporation for National and Community Service, the agency responsible for service and volunteering that administers AmeriCorps, deploys AmeriCorps and Senior Corps members to communities impacted by natural disasters. Following a disaster, national service acts as a force multiplier, providing key resources and significantly expanding the capacity of existing organizations on the ground. More than 40,000 AmeriCorps and Senior Corps members were deployed in response to Hurricane Katrina. In the decade since, AmeriCorps teams have provided critical support after countless disasters, including Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane Irma, Hurricane Sandy; the 2013 floods in Colorado; and tornadoes in Joplin, Mo., Tuscaloosa, Ala., and Moore, Okla.

On September 20th of 2017, Hurricane Maria, a Category 4 Hurricane, pummeled the island territory of Puerto Rico as well as other islands in the Caribbean. Hurricane Maria was the strongest hurricane to hit Puerto Rico in more than 80 years. It destroyed homes, roads, and bridges, knocked out power across the entire island, and triggered heavy flooding. Puerto Rican authorities have requested $94 billion to cover damages from Maria.

More than nine months after hurricane Maria, a sense of normalcy is returning to the major populated areas of Puerto Rico. Although much progress is being made with returning water and electricity to its citizens, it will be a long time before the Island will return to its previous state.


About Conservation Corps Minnesota & Iowa: A 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, Conservation Corps Minnesota & Iowa provides hands-on environmental stewardship and service-learning opportunities for youth and young adults. They perform conservation, natural resource management and emergency response work throughout Minnesota, Iowa and surrounding states.

About AmeriCorps: AmeriCorps is a program of the Corporation for National and Community Service, the federal agency for volunteering and service. Each year, more than 80,000 men and women serve at more than 20,000 schools, nonprofits, and faith-based groups, joining the more than 1 million Americans who’ve taken the pledge to ‘get things done’ since the program’s inception in 1994.

Conservation Corps Minnesota & Iowa members at the airport

Conservation Corps Minnesota & Iowa members deploying to Puerto Rico on Monday, July 16, 2018. Pictured front row left to right: Anja Hogan (Northwest District Manager), Audrey Lash (AmeriCorps Member serving in Iowa), Carolina Covington (AmeriCorps member serving in Iowa), Sarah Klein (AmeriCorps member serving in Iowa), Drew Evans (AmeriCorps member serving in Iowa). Pictured back row left to right: Dillon Pride (Northwest District Field Specialist), Chris Mukina (Youth Outdoors Field Specialist), DeWitt Boyd (Iowa Assistant Program Manager), Cory Rhinehart (AmeriCorps member serving in Iowa).

Conservation Corps Minnesota & Iowa members begin work in Puerto Rico

On Wednesday, July 18, 2018, Conservation Corps Minnesota & Iowa members began their work in Puerto Rico by meeting with a crew from Southwest Conservation Corps to learn about the cement roof repair process.