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By Trishna Buch
The Galveston County Long Term Recovery Group was
the focus of last Tuesday’s Rotary meeting. Kiesha Mallett
Communications Coordinator for Galveston County Long
Term Recovery Group (GCLTRG)and Ben Baldwin of 4B
Disaster Response Network were on hand to report on the
progress and future planning initiative, along with Eight
Days of Hope.
The Galveston County Long Term Recovery Group
(GCLTRG) is part of Homeland Security’s National Disaster
Recovery Framework. “There is an immediate response
following disasters, but a long-term community response
is also needed, following this immediate response,” Kiesha
said. “This recovery is going to be three, five, eight or 10
years—depending on how you look at the benchmarks.”
The GCLTRG was formed in the weeks immediately following
Harvey and is officially recognized by FEMA as the
long term recovery group for our county. “Normally, there
is one long term recovery group for each county,” Keisha
said. The GCLTRG is a coalition of nonprofit and faith
based organizations that are already active in the community
doing good work. “Not one state, not one agency,
not one company and not one entity can pull off long
term recovery,” Keisha said. So these organizations come
together to help the people impacted by Harvey and help
them go from “impact to their new normal.”
According to Kiesha, the GCLTRG currently hosts 36
to 40 participating agencies. “Some of these agencies,
such as Mainland Community Partnerships, United Way
and the Health District, helped out during Hurricane Ike,
while other organizations are new,” she said. “But we are
all here to help residents recover from Hurricane Harvey.”
She also stressed that the need to help comes from a
place of humanity because “for businesspeople these
residents are our employee and customer base. They live
here, their kids go to school here and they help maintain
our tax base. Furthermore, from a community perspective,
all of these pieces need to function together.”
The GCLTRG works to coordinate recovery efforts in the
community by identifying resources that already exist in
the community, and developing new ones. “When Harvey
first occurred, people were showing up at volunteer sites,
asking “what can we do” and there was plenty to do, so we
sent them on their way,” Kiesha said. “That doesn’t work
in the long-term. We cannot duplicate efforts. We must be
efficient with the dollars received to help the most people
Kiesha stressed the importance of planning to be better
prepared for the future and ensuring that, as a community
and county, we can “ramp up quicker, know our partners
and be more responsive.” “FEMA recognizes Texas as
the most disaster prone state in the union,” Keisha said. “I
don’t like that title.”
The way the GCLTRG works is that it consists of a
chair, vice-chair and treasurer who make up the office
staff. Then the working components are split into work
groups: disaster care management, repair and rebuild,
unmet needs, volunteer coordination, public and behavioral
health impact to the storm and communications and
advocacy. Each work group is such designed that residents
have access to multiple case agencies at any time.
“Disaster Case Mangers come up with a recovery plan,
individualized to that person, and the other working groups
become tools in that DCM tool bucket,” Kiesha said.
She also sang her praises for the Mainland Community
Partnership for stepping up and starting their assistance in
recovery efforts before FEMA had stepped in.
One of the work groups of the GCLTRG is the repair
and rebuild component. This is led by Ben Baldwin, who
is the executive director of the 4B Disaster Response
Network. The 4BDRN is the repair and rebuild group of
According to Baldwin, the 4BDRN was formed after
Hurricane Harvey and consists of churches that came
together, pulled their resources and formed a nonprofit.
“We are mobilizing a network of churches
to love our neighbors,” Baldwin said.
More specifically, according to the organization’s
website, it “exists to mobilize
a network of churches to reflect the
gospel of Jesus Christ by serving people
affected by disaster in the 4B area (from
the Beltway to the Beach and the Bay to
Brazoria County.”
Baldwin said that the 4BDRN works
in concert with the LTRG and, in March,
will be having the first of many initiatives
to help with the rebuilding and recovery process. From
March 10th to March 24th they are partnering with Eight
Days of Hope. Eight Days of Hope, according to Baldwin,
is “a network of skilled churches and skilled tradespeople
who come in after a disaster and bring volunteers to
rebuild homes.” They are making two trips to Houston,
back-to-back with a one day overlap, lasting a total of 15
days. “The goal is to rebuild 750 homes during this 15
day period,” Baldwin said. 4BDRN and EDOH will bring
together volunteers from across the nation to help rebuild
hundreds of homes. This event is expected to be the
single largest volunteer rebuild effort over a 15-day period
in U.S. history.
The tradespeople will come in and take care of a majority
of the home rebuilding. “For example, they will partner
with local businesses for flooring and cabinets, identify
what types of flooring and cabinets they will work with,
and then the homeowner gets to choose out of one of five
choices from the types available,” Baldwin said. He did,
however, mention that the group cannot fix foundations or
do work on mobile homes, but that 4BDRN will still come
and assess the damage. “We plan to do this over the next
one to two years,” Baldwin said. “We’re raising money,
identifying needs and partnering with outside groups to
address those needs. Eight Days of Hope is the first of
many projects.”
The GCLTRG meets the second and fourth Wednesdays
of each month, at 1:30pm, at the Holy Trinity in Dickinson.
And volunteer opportunities for the GCLTRG and the
4BDRN are available at both websites: www.galvestoncountyrecovers.
org/ and For more information
on the work they do, please visit their websites.

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