By Jason B. Cutshaw (USASMDC/ARSTRAT)May 6, 2011
REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. - In the wake of the storm, people are coming together to assist those who lost much.
Members of the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command workforce in Huntsville and in Colorado Springs, Colo., are joining forces to help those devastated by the recent tornados that struck northern Alabama on April 27.
"We have had several in our command who have had homes destroyed," said Chaplain (Col.) Douglas K. Kinder, USASMDC/ARSTRAT command chaplain. "I continue to be amazed at the generosity and graciousness of people, not only in SMDC but in the Redstone Arsenal community who have helped and have given so much."
USASMDC/ARSTRAT Headquarters and Headquarters Company is serving as the point of contact for all donations and communication of needs for the command's Soldiers, Families and members of the civilian workforce who may have been affected by the storms.
There are several ways to support those who are struggling, but currently, only certain items are needed. Those include toiletries, (baby wipes, shampoo, tooth brushes, etc.) and non-perishable goods such as canned foods.
USASMDC/ARSTRAT HHC has also formed an emergency relief account to provide immediate assistance to those military and civilian team members who may need support. With this fund the command has purchased groceries, storage materials and other items.
If you would like to donate to this support account, contact Capt. Blair Tighe, USASMDC/ARSTRAT HHC executive officer, at (256) 955-0594 or Maj. Shawn Geib, USASMDC/ARSTRAT HHC commander, in Colorado Springs at (719) 554-1976 for details.
Kinder talked about additional donations which are also needed and also thanked those who have given during this difficult time.
"What we need are food and small appliances such as microwaves and toasters," Kinder said. "People are also very gracious with financial gifts. They have given to help support disaster relief and during the worship services this weekend, all the money given will go to help those in need."
During the recovery phase, the noncommissioned officers of USASMDC/ARSTRAT have been instrumental in the support of damage assistance on homes that have been damaged. They have provided minor damage support such as tarp coverage of roofs to prevent further damage, as well as assistance in moving household goods for temporary storage in displaced housing situations. They have also cut trees that needed moving from certain areas.
"I think it is very important during this time to be understanding to those in need," Kinder said.
"My office is always open and I am available for anyone who needs to talk. "We have helping agencies that are galvanized to help those in need and are ready at a moments notice," he added.
For those needing to speak to the chaplain, Kinder can be contacted at (256) 955-5027.
With the workforce making its way back this week, Tighe said, problems may still linger but as with most problems, there are people and agencies ready to help.
"There are several avenues people can go through to help those in the command who may have suffered a loss in the aftermath of the storms," Tighe said. "We are trying to pinpoint the needs of the workforce and ensure we get the necessities to those who need it most.
"As an Army family we take care of our own, so don't feel you need to keep this to yourself," he added. "If a problem arises in a week, do not be afraid to let us know so we can get help to you as quickly as possible. We do not have a cut-off date and are here to help."
During the storms, a family lost their home to a tornado and will be moving into an unfurnished apartment. As expected, they are in need of a number of items and would appreciate any contributions.
Some of the items needed are: dishes, garbage can and bags, zip lock bags, bathroom cleaners and toilet paper.
"We want to be able to assist as many people as we can, and with the support we have received thus far we have been able take care of our own and be there for them," Tighe said. "If we do have people who like to keep things confidential, we will definitely do that and ensure their privacy."
There are other avenues that those affected can go to when seeking help. Those include the following:
1. Home owners and renters insurance can provide reimbursement for lost food and goods during the storm.
2. Assistance for Army family members affected by tornados in the southeastern area: https://adpaas.army.mil. A case representative will come to the home and provide assistance where needed.
3. Army Emergency Relief: Active duty, retirees and dependents may come into the Army Community Service Office to discuss possible options during this stressful time and apply for financial support.
The point of contact for Army Community Service is Kathleen Riester and she can be reached at (256) 876-5397.