Images Across Missouri

For the past three months, I have been out in Missouri alongside of Sun 6, an AmeriCorps NCCC team based out of the Denver campus.  We started our journey in Williamsburg, MO, working with the Missouri Dept. of Conservation (MDC).  We enjoyed the hard work of controlled burns, trail building, invasive species removal and chasing frogs. 

From there we responded to the Good Friday Tornado in St. Louis, where we worked beside the St. Louis Emergency Response Team (ERT), the Washington Conservation Corps (WCC), Earth 2 (another team out of Denver) and All Hands Volunteers.  We did a lot of manual labor, swamping and dragging limbs and debris to the curb so that the city could pick it up, chain saw work, and learning from experience. 

Less than 24 hours after the EF-5 tornado hit Joplin, MO, we arrived and started helping set up the Volunteer Reception Center (VRC).  We were joined by two more teams out of Denver (Water 4 and 7, i believe), members of the Conservation Corp of Iowa and Minnesota, Environmental Corps out of Texas, and several other smaller AmeriCorps programs (Read and Learn, Habitat for Humanity, Teach and Serve, to name a few).  We were doing a lot of the volunteer management, running the operations, and behind the scenes work in the VRC. 

Below are a series of photographs that capture the whole experience of the past three months (including the 36 days on disaster):

 All of our boots, covered in dirt, ash and… well… you don’t want to know.  All the Corps Members (in NCCC) are issued steel toed boots in the beginning of the year, now they are torn up and weathered. 

 This was the highlight of my time in Williamsburg:  the night burn at Marshal I. Diggs Conservation Area.

 A hard hat and sweater left on the ground in St. Louis.  It just caught my  eye and defines (for me) what we did there.

 A portrait of one of the St. Louis ERT members, hard at work in the VRC in Joplin.  Most of the work that I did in Joplin was in the VRC, entering data.  This is an example of the behind the scenes work that never gets recognized. 

 One of the WCC guys as a squad leader out in the field.  Many of us did not have experience leading 100+ volunteers on our own each day, but the dedication of the AmeriCorps members out in the field made me proud. 

 Another portrait, this time one of the Directors of AmeriCorps St. Louis.  This was probably the only time he wasn’t directing all the organization of AmeriCorps, but out in the field listening to the stories of victims and survivors. 

 I finish off with this self-portrait, knowing that who I am now is just a shadow of who I once was.  These experiences have changed me and I am still processing everything that I have experienced in Williamsburg, St. Louis and Joplin. 

God Bless and PEACE


1 Comment »

  1. Anonymous Said:

    Love keeping up with you via your blog. Also love your photography as I am a photographer myself (see my work at madyhenderson.deviantart). I am proud of you and the fellow AmeriCorp members for doing what you do. GOD BLESS YOU!

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