Non-profit mentors communities recovering from natural disasters

Leaders Helping Leaders

Since 2017 an organization in Pateros, Washington has been helping communities recover from natural and man-made disasters.

Disaster Leadership TeamDisaster Leadership Team (DLT) members are available, through one-on-one mentorship, to help communities establish the infrastructure needed for long term disaster recovery from tornadoes, wildfires, floods, mudslides, and hurricanes. Their goal is to be there to support others who are facing the unbelievable obstacles and challenges that accompany disaster.

They have assisted after wildfires in California (Woolsey and Camp), floods in Nebraska (counties of Dodge, Sarpy, and Douglas), and after hurricane Michael in Florida.

Disaster Leadership Team
DLT member, Christine Files, in August, 2019, facilitating a Strategic Planning Workshop in Florida for the Citizens of Gulf County Recovery Team following Hurricane Michael. Disaster Leadership Team photo.

The formation of the DLT  began when the Mennonite Disaster Service (MDS) first brought together disaster leaders they had worked with from across the United States. In September 2016, the group met and shared experiences and stories. It was evident this group was filled with strong, determined leaders who were ready to help other communities facing the long road of disaster recovery.

The DLT is a non-profit, 501 (c) (3), and considering the field they are working in operates on a shoestring, receiving an average of $62,760 each year, 2017 through 2019. Virtually all of the contributions so far have come from the MDS and the Center for Disaster Philanthropy. Their staff, Executive Director, Treasurer, Board Members, Secretary, and Board Members receive no salaries.

The DLT works with the Okanogan County [Washington] Long Term Recovery organization which is recovering from the wildfires and mudslides of 2014 and 2015. The organization has replaced 27 homes and worked on over 1,200 cases.

Disaster Leadership Team
DLT members Robin and Jessica provided support to the Camp Fire Long Term Recovery Group in Chico, California in February, 2020. Disaster Leadership Team photo.

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Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire.

4 thoughts on “Non-profit mentors communities recovering from natural disasters”

  1. Please note that we please prefer to avoid the terms “natural disaster” and “natural disasters”, since disasters are not natural, instead referring to “disasters”:
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    Thank you!

  2. Why are there only 3 men involved, if the picture above represents the organization. You would think that those in the area, who onced served on IMTs, would make themselves available for such service. This gives the appearance that “only women really care.” I’m sure that’s not correct, and is just the perception.

    1. Ted, I don’t know why many of the photos posted by the DLT show more women involved than men. The photos on the group’s Facebook page show the same thing. Maybe because women are as a general rule more empathic than men?

      But about former Incident Management Team members, I am not an expert on Long Range Recovery, but I know that the skills and experience needed are different from fire suppression. Long Range includes setting up a recovery organization which takes about three months, applying for 501 (c) (3) status, establishing committees, grant writing, fund raising, providing advice about negotiating insurance coverage, awarding contracts, disposing of huge quantities of debris within environmental restraints, finding temporary housing, counseling, helping businesses recover and reopen, construction coordination, and advising victims about their legal rights. I’m sure there are many others.

      Here is a link to an article about a community in Washington that is going through long range recovery after the fires of last year.

      1. I can imagine. As you likely know, IMTs are trained in all kinds of incidents, not just fire.
        My only point was why did the picture make it look like only women were stepping up to care for suffering communities and families?


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