Tuesday, May 13, 2014
ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST PARISH – Parish President Natalie Robottom and Disaster Recovery Manager Raymond Goodman traveled to Seattle, Washington at the request of a Coalition of Recovery Planners to discuss Hurricane Isaac recovery strategies. The trip was the result of a collaborative effort between the State of Washington and the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) National Disaster Recovery Support (NDRS) group to develop insight into key components of the parish’s recovery operations. These components include: organization, community planning and capacity building, housing, economic recovery, mitigation, public assistance, funds, health and social services, infrastructure systems and natural and cultural impacts. The coalition was inspired by their visit to St. John the Baptist Parish last Fall and the lessons learned during their stay.
During the visit, Robottom and Goodman addressed Emergency Management Officials in the Puget Sound Region and shared their experience with FEMA's National Disaster Recovery Framework (NDRF), the Long-Term Recovery Group (LTRG) and the Citizen's Advisory Committee (CAC). A key component of Washington’s planning initiative is community engagement and recovery planners looked to St. John the Baptist Parish as a best practice for engaging the community. Subsequently, the group was very interested in St. John's formation of each citizen group, the process of engaging residents, and the development of the parish's long-term recovery strategy.
“It is invaluable to have access to folks that have had the real life experience and expertise of surviving and recovering from a major disaster in their parish. We can't thank President Robottom and Local Disaster Recovery Manager Raymond Goodman enough for taking the time to talk with the communities in the Puget Sound about their lessons learned from Hurricane Isaac. I was thoroughly impressed with the way your parish was able to involve your whole community in the St. John the Baptist Recovery Strategy,” said Casey Broom, Pierce County Recovery Coordinator.
Robottom and Goodman spent three full days meeting with the Seattle Planning Committee, King County Cabinet Members, Pierce County Executives and over 140 representatives of non-profit agencies, community organizations, and emergency management officials in King County, Snohomish County, and Pierce County (aka Puget Sound). “It was our honor and privilege to meet with many officials in and around Seattle and share our long-term recovery strategy following Hurricane Isaac. The volunteer efforts and participation of our residents have been recognized nationally for completion of the NDRF,” said Raymond Goodman, Disaster Recovery Manager.
Time was also spent with the Mayor of Seattle, Ed Murray, to further discuss the recovery process and engagement of the community. “One of my priorities is to prepare our community for major emergencies using the most innovative and effective methods possible. I believe in learning lessons from those who have developed real-life expertise by living through the severity of hurricanes and other disasters,” said Mayor Murray. St. John the Baptist Parish received help from volunteers from around the country following Hurricane Isaac, and this was an opportunity to pay that help forward.