We honor the memory of those in our armed forces who have laid down their lives to preserve our freedom. To these men and women we are forever indebted.
This is a hard week for most in the Oso and Darrington communities. The amazing outpouring of local, regional, and national prayers and financial resources was incredible and showed the generosity of the American people. But the Oso and Darrington communities also gave future generations a gift as well.
Because of the tenacity of the Oso and Darrington communities, FEMA has changed in its approach to local volunteers and how they are integrated into search and recovery teams.
On day two or three of the disaster, family and friends were “lobbying” (I am being PC) hard to get in there to find their loved ones and to try and rescue as many as possible. These families, of course, had a very vested interest in finding their loved ones and friends, but FEMA policy “had” been to allow only “professionals” to do the searching. But the local knowledge of the area and local fortitude of these communities forced FEMA’s hand and a decision had to be made. Were FEMA and the local leadership going to try and keep out the “locals” or integrate them?
Honestly, there was no option but to integrate because, short of military intervention, those locals were going to help. And because of their tenacity, FEMA now has a blueprint to integrate other local community members into search and rescue teams where appropriate.
While this disaster is still very raw for many of us, it has left a “path” for closure and healing for the untold number of natural disasters to come—all because one community and one government agency saw a way to work together and get more accomplished than either could do alone.