Recent severe weather across the southern U.S. has focused attention on communities hard-hit by tornadoes and flooding. Residents of the Alabama and Missouri towns recovering from F4 and F5 tornadoes have a long road ahead of them, as do those living along the flood plains of the Mississippi River.
David Ladd, a hydrologist/GIS specialist at USGS at the Tennessee Water Science Center, has particular empathy for those in the path of current flooding. In May 2010, Ladd’s home in Nashville filled with two feet of water after days of heavy rains followed by rivers cresting well above flood-stage. Ladd’s home is not in an area previously deemed at high risk for flooding, so he had no flood insurance at the time (though he certainly does now). “This was a 500-year event, meaning there’s only about a 0.2% chance of it happening in any given year,” said Ladd, “I had to rip out all the carpet and redo walls up four feet from the floor…it took about five months to get it back in shape, and we were lucky to have a second floor we could live in during that time.”
While many charities were there to help with immediate needs like clean drinking water and temporary shelter, Ladd said not many were equipped to help with longer-term recovery and rebuilding. At the point when most people needed financial help to make up the difference between FEMA grants, insurance and rebuilding costs, there just weren’t many places to go. Ladd heard a neighbor talking about how his company was raising money to help employees and began to wonder if his own employer had any sort of similar program. His search led him to FEEA’s emergency assistance program and he applied for and received a disaster relief grant.
Now David Ladd is part of a team helping to map flood plains and determine which areas will flood as spillways are opened to avert greater disaster. He hopes federal colleagues along the Mississippi know about FEEA and will seek disaster relief when they need it. He has flood insurance himself and this year designated his CFC donation to FEEA to ensure help is there for other feds faced with tough times.
For 25 years, FEEA has been there to help federal families when natural disasters strike. From $50,000 to 500 families after Hurricane Andrew (1992) to $46,000 in grants to feds who lost homes and other property in the Los Alamos wildfires (2000) and on to $1.8 million for feds in the Gulf Coast after the triple-punch of Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma (2005), FEEA has supported federal families as they recover from disasters. Today, FEEA is helping federal families across the southern states, with more than $21,000 to 34 families in the first weeks after April’s massive tornadoes.
At the same time, the recession has impacted federal families no less than other Americans. Job losses, rising prices, and plummeting home values have led to three years of increasing requests for emergency loans. A program that provided $164,000 in loans and grants in 2007 was up to $276,000 in 2008 and just closed the 2011 fiscal year having made over $500,000 in no-interest loans. With additional financial pressures sure to impact federal families, your help is needed now to ensure FEEA can continue to provide assistance every time it’s needed.
Please show your support for FEEA’s 25-year tradition of federal employees helping federal employees by making a donation of $25 or more now. Thanks to a generous grant from the BlueCross/BlueShield Association the first $25,000 in individual donations during this campaign will be matched by BCBS, giving your donation twice the impact. Help FEEA reach its $100,000 goal and sustain the programs that matter most to federal families. Give online today. Your gift will truly make a difference.
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