Who could forget the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina, Sandy, tornadoes, or any other disaster that hits our country every year? Even with these tough reminders, do we feel prepared for if and when the next disaster hits? Many of us would still not say “yes”. Whether the approach is “It’s never going to happen to me” or another way to put off this important topic, it is essential that community members understand the importance of being ready and prepared for a natural or man-made disaster.
September was celebrated as National Disaster Preparedness Month in our county and the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community (GA Chapter) hosted a planning committee meeting for “First 72 Hours”, a disaster relief preparedness summit for Faith-based leaders of Gwinnett County at its mosque Baitul Baqi in Norcross on September 30.
This summit is sponsored by the non-profit organizations, Joseph’s Network, Noah’s Ark, and American Red Cross and is scheduled for October 24 at a Latter Day Saints Church in Lilburn from 9a.m. to 4p.m.
The sponsoring organizations were represented by Pastor Rhea Posey for Joseph’s Network, Corazon Ketchem for Noah’s Ark, and Carisa Hettich for the American Red Cross. The twenty-eight attendees included faith-based leaders representing a variety of religions and ethnicities, and county and civic leaders mostly belonging to the Gwinnett County.
This gathering was part of a series of meetings held to ensure that an informative and successful summit is organized for the benefit of all Gwinnet County faith-based leaders. Many important milestones were met and crucial matters of logistics were discussed.
An idea that could very well be called the brainchild of Pastor Posey and Hettich is unique because grassroots effort of this level for Disaster Relief Preparedness has never brought together such an amazing level of cooperation between different faith groups.
“The Red Cross greatly relies on faith organizations during disaster, so for us, this concept hit many of our “check marks””, stated Hettich. No wonder that it has been considered “best practice” by the National headquarters of the American Red Cross. Something that it would like to replicate in other parts of the country.
Although, some call faith as a dividing force between members of the human race what makes this effort “one of a kind” is the “inclusiveness” that it brings to the community. Pastor Posey repeatedly says, “Disaster does not discriminate” so how could this program be something exclusive? This is why every faith partner of this planning committee feels welcome and respected every time they get together.
In a world of ever increasing chaos, kudos to the sponsors for bringing such a spirit of friendship and love among a diverse group of people. “It is easier to work with a friend than a stranger”, explained Hettich about how much she enjoys working for this program.
The summit is free and open to all faith-based leaders of Gwinnett County. Anybody who is interested in partnering with Joseph’s network for this particular event can contact Pastor Rhea Posey at firstname.lastname@example.org and for those who are only interested in attending the event scheduled for October 24 can register at www.josephsnetwork.com.