As we move toward Conference 2020 in Phoenix, Arizona, National VOAD will be celebrating our guiding principles: the 4 Cs. Communication, Coordination, Collaboration and Cooperation have been at the center of what National VOAD Members and Partners have done over the last 50 years, and we will be exploring just what that has looked like in the past, and evolved into in the future. 

The first ‘C’ that we will be celebrating is Coordination. Always at the center of what we do, the past few months have shown the ability of National VOAD members and partners to effectively coordinate in the field and beyond. From the Bahamas, to Alaska, to Texas, National VOAD members spent the summer of 2019 coordinating efforts to provide relief and recovery assistance.

Despite National VOAD’s focus on the United States and it’s territories, the devastation that Hurricane Dorian inflicted on the Bahamas provided the opportunity for National VOAD members and partners to show how they coordinate. Working together to make the best use of their capabilities on the ground in order to quickly, and efficiently serve survivors. For Airlink and new National VOAD member ITDRC, this style of coordination came easily. Due to Airlink’s efforts to get ITDRC teams on the ground before, and after Hurricane Dorian passed, ITDRC teams were able to establish communications at Grand Bahama International Airport, setting up a VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) system that allowed for the coordination of relief on the island. ITDRC also teamed with IsraAid for a special mission to reconnect a small group of survivors remaining on a remote Cay on the East end of Grand Bahama Island. Despite our national focus, our members ability to coordinate internationally shows the strength of the VOAD movement.

In Alaska, the President & CEO Greg Forrester and a group of Long Term Recovery Group subject matter experts spent a week visiting Long Term Recovery Groups, and Community Organizations Active in Disaster (COADs) in and around Anchorage. Assisting to coordinate work at the National, State, and Local level, this trip showed how the National VOAD governing body can assist in coordination. Their efforts to help coordinate relief between LTRGs on the ground in Alaska will provide a smoother road for communities affected by the devastating earthquakes and flooding that occurred last year.

Tropical Storm Imelda saw the State VOAD in Texas leading the coordination charge to bring relief to communities, many of whom had only just recovered from the devastating flooding wrought by Hurricane Harvey. Texas VOAD led coordination calls daily, ensuring that there would be no duplication of effort amongst National VOAD members responding in the area. National members worked hard to coordinate relief efforts in Texas within their own organizations, ensuring that volunteers and supplies were flowing in to communities that most needed them. We saw examples of that from Team Rubicon, the American Red CrossOperation Blessing, and many more.

These are just a few of the many stories of coordination from the summer of 2019. As we continue through the year, there will certainly be more examples, and we encourage you to share them with us. It is important to show each other, and those outside of the National VOAD movement what it is we do, and why it is so vitally important.