In early August 2016, deep tropical moisture in combination with low pressure unleashed unprecedented historic rain on the State of Louisiana. The American Red Cross says this is the worst natural disaster to strike the United States since Hurricane Sandy with over a dozen people dead, more than 40,000 residential homes damaged, and 10,000 people sent to emergency shelters. President Barack Obama has granted the governor’s request for an emergency declaration to assist in response and recovery efforts. Gov. John Bel Edwards has deployed the Louisiana National Guard, which mobilized 1,700 soldiers to assist in search and rescue efforts. The governor said he expects to have close to 30 parishes declared disasters — nearly half of the state’s 64 parishes. As a response to the disaster, Region Chief Jeff Sedlacek has tasked SR-1A to relaunch Southern Region ReliefCorps: Operation Louisiana Relief.
The vision of ReliefCorps is to give aid to those affected by the recent natural disasters in the Southern Region. ReliefCorps is a Southern Region program sponsored by Section 1A in Louisiana and Mississippi. As previously sponsored by Section 5 in 2015, Section 9 in 2011 and Section 8 in 2013, this will be the fourth taskforce established. All lodges are encouraged to participate.
The program has two components: a lodge service project and a fundraiser. To commemorate our recovery efforts, a special gold mylar bordered patch has been designed and can be obtained by participating in a lodge organized service project. The only requirement for the lodge service project is that the project must benefit the community and not the BSA or any council. Any OA member who participates in the lodge service project and contributes 5 or more hours of service will receive the special patch. At the conclusion of the service project, the lodge should complete the Lodge ReliefCorps Report and submit it electronically by November 30, 2016, to the region at firstname.lastname@example.org. After the Lodge ReliefCorps Report is received, the patches will be sent to the Council Service Center for distribution.
Here is one example of a service project your lodge can perform: organize a group effort to send cleaning buckets: http://www.umcor.org/UMCOR/Relief-Supplies/Relief-Supply-Kits/Cleaning. Please remember to follow all guidance provided in the OSHA Flood Preparedness and Response guidelines. Any efforts to help locally should be coordinated through the local scout offices.
Additionally, a silver mylar bordered patch may be purchased for $10.00 and the gold mylar bordered service project patches can also be purchased by those wishing to donate $100 to the relief efforts. All proceeds from these sales will be given to the American Red Cross. There is no service requirement to purchase the fundraiser patches. Patches may be purchased and ordered online by November 30, 2016. All purchased patches will be mailed to the Council Service Center along with the patches from the service project. Please help reach out to the victims of these natural disasters by participating in this program and remember that “he who serves his fellows is of all his fellows, greatest”.
Yours In Service,
2016 Southern Region Chief