debris from disaster piled in neighborhood-photo by davidbuschausThe Missouri House of Representatives today passed a resolution honoring AmeriCorps members from across the country who have played an indispensable role in helping the city of Joplin recover from the devastating tornado that flattened more than 7,000 buildings in the city on May 22, 2011.

AmeriCorps members from 20 organizations in seven states served in Joplin providing homeowner assistance, removing tons of debris, operating donation warehouses and even offering legal services.

“The members of the Missouri House of Representatives join unanimously to applaud the history, goals, and accomplishments associated with the AmeriCorps program and to convey to all of those involved (our) most heartfelt commendation of their efforts in Joplin and Duquesne following the devastating tornado,” states Missouri House Resolution 244.

The first AmeriCorps members arrived within hours after the tornado struck, and more than 300 have served continually since then, providing vital services and mobilizing more than 60,000 volunteers who have been essential to the city’s recovery.

“In a time of great need, AmeriCorps members rushed to the scene and have stayed for the long haul, providing vital hope and help to the people of Joplin,” said Robert Velasco, Acting CEO of the federal agency that employs the workers.

He announced a continued commitment to the people of Joplin promising the deployment of 30 or more AmeriCorps service members throughout the coming year.

Americorps home construction - photo by NationalService.govOver the past seven months, AmeriCorps has deployed more than 200 members who have given 49,000 hours of service, gutted or mucked 725 homes, and served more than 20,000 meals.

The first members from AmeriCorps St. Louis and AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps arrived in Joplin hours after the tornado and immediately began working with local police and sheriff’s offices to assist in search and rescue and establish a missing person’s hotline.

The resolution commends AmeriCorps members who, in the wake of the nation’s deadliest tornado in more than sixty years, managed a large-scale volunteer operation, giving more than 579,000 hours of service and providing disaster assistance to more than 2,000 Joplin households.

AmeriCorps members were instrumental to mobilizing an influx of volunteers and donations that saved the city more than $17.7 million, which it otherwise would been required to pay as part of its share of the reimbursement for federal FEMA disaster funds. – Photo (top) by David Buschaus

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