After a hurricane and tropical storm hit Schoharie, New York, in August 2011, World Renew Disaster Response Services (DRS) worked closely with Schoharie Area Long Term Recovery (SALT) to help them get started on the right foot in their recovery. This included providing competent, service-minded volunteers to help with assessments, capacity building, and reconstruction.
Schoharie, which lies 150 miles inland from the ocean and is one of eight counties in New York state that was declared a federal disaster area, experienced massive flooding from the August 28, 2011 storms. An 8-foot wall of water barreled through the Schoharie Valley, completely inundating the downtown. In the narrower areas of the valley, the flood water reached 35 feet high. Most residents were forced to evacuate and nearly every one (94%) of thehomes was damaged or destroyed.
“We were privileged to be a part of the recovery in Schoharie. The community’s resilience and fortitude have been unswerving, and we were impressed by their stamina.”
“Since the Green Shirt volunteers arrived in Schoharie, they have touched many lives and provided an invaluable service to our community,” said Jerrine Corallo, volunteer director for SALT.
After conducting a county-wide unmet needs assessment in March 2012, the Green Shirts (DRS volunteers are recognized by the green shirts they wear and are often referred to as “the Green Shirts.”) became well-known and well-loved in the community. World Renew soon opened a long-term reconstruction site.
From March 2012 to November 2013, more than 500 green-shirt volunteers from the US and Canada donated more than 55,000 hours of their time and talents to the recovery, working tirelessly to rebuild the damaged homes. DRS volunteers gave one to three weeks of their time, often returning more than once to contribute to the projects.
World Renew DRS volunteers and local homeowners quickly built relationships as they worked on repairing homes together.
“Many homeowners shared a meal with the work teams at our lodging, which helped us get to know them and what they’ve gone through. That time spent getting acquainted really gives us a better understanding of what families experience during a storm,” said Doug and Pat Guikema, World Renew project managers.
On November 11, 2013, World Renew DRS, SALT, and members of the Schoharie community gathered to celebrate the Lord’s goodness on the road to their recovery. Over a meal shared in good company, the volunteers and residents alike gave testimonies of thankfulness and gratitude.
"The Green Shirts are now an integral part of our community, our history, our story, and our lives,” Goodrich said. “Our gratitude for their service knows no bounds. The best way we can express our appreciation is to honor them by carrying on in our own lives the pattern of selflessness they have modeled."
While the long-term reconstruction site closed on November 23, DRS will when possible send week-long volunteer groups to assist SALT with completing the remaining repairs.
To volunteer with World Renew DRS or make a donation, visit worldrenew.net/drs.
World Renew's Disaster Response Services volunteers (a.k.a the Green Shirts) give of their time and talents to help clear debris, assess needs, and rebuild homes after disasters strike.