When floods were at their worst in Nebraska, our Emergency Management and Disaster Science students and graduates jumped at the chance to put their education and experience to work. From coordinating flood donations to managing operations and communications, our students and alumni are well-educated, and ready to prepare, plan, and respond in disaster situations.
Matthew Bracciano, a May 2019 Bachelor of Science in Emergency Management graduate, interned this spring with the American Red Cross. He also volunteered extra time over spring break. He helped in almost every aspect of the Red Cross. There were days he answered the phones and spoke to callers that had questions about the flooding and offered a helping hand with the donations and the financial side of the disaster. He also volunteered his time at open shelters in Elkhorn and Fremont, while distributing supplies and food to those in need.
Jennifer Miller, a current EMDS student, volunteered through the Girl Scouts of America. She took it upon herself to reach out to girl scouts who were affected by the flooding. She found one who lost everything. The little girl was in the custody of her grandparents and had just started to get a sense of normality when the flood took everything. Her grandma cleans houses for a living and the neighborhood she cleans was hit by the flood. Her grandpa has health issues and landed in the hospital. Miller worked with her troop leaders and collected donations for the family. She created an online wish list to organize exactly what the family needed most. Girl Scout troops from all over the country were asking if they could help. Due to Miller’s many efforts donations poured in for the family. The family now has a place to live. During one of her classes in Emergency Management, they discussed how donations can be both a blessing and a curse. She did not want this family to experience this, so she shared this information with all of the other leaders under her service unit so they, too, would understand how to help families in need. Miller’s troop went on to help the Town and Country Animal Shelter.
Nick Walsh, a BSEM graduate, current MPA student; and Lexy Hindt, a May 2019 BSEM graduate, teamed up to offer flood relief efforts through the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency. Hindt was completing her internship. During the flooding she was stationed in the State Emergency Operations Center as an intern where she attended meetings and answered critical phone calls. She was central to the SEOC and saw what happens during the height of a disaster. As a result of her work with NEMA, they hired her full time this summer! Hindt is now one of three BSEM graduated employed by NEMA. Read more about Hindt's flood relief efforts.
Karen Franco, current EMDS student volunteered through Nebraska Volunteer Organizations Active in Disasters. They sent her to Fremont where she worked in the Dodge County Emergency Operations Center as the volunteer registration liaison. People would communicate with her in lieu of the emergency manager. She sent volunteers to places in need and worked with resource allocation. Franco was instrumental in obtaining the JCPenney location at the Fremont mall which was later used by the American Red Cross for emergency housing.
Alyssa Spartz and Tyler Urbanec, current EMDS students, volunteered through the American Red Cross. They went to Fremont and started an emergency housing facility. From there, they went to the mall in Fremont and worked in the old JCPenney building, where they assisted in combining the emergency housing facilities into one location. They also managed setting up cots and organizing donations.
Justin Doering, a current EMDS student, completed his internship with Cass County Emergency Management. He was called upon by the director of EMS Operations to assist him, along with the Cass County Sheriff’s Office, to inform residents to voluntarily evacuate the Treasure Island neighborhood of the Buccaneer Bay Community along the Platte River.
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