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For immediate release - Friday, October 26, 2001. Contact Bob Brammer - 515-281-6699.

Third Iowa Crisis Response Team Going to New York on Sunday

The Attorney General's Crime Victim Assistance Division organized the seven-person Iowa team that will spend next week in the New York area.

DES MOINES. Attorney General Tom Miller said today that a third Iowa "Crisis Response Team" will leave for New York City Sunday to assist in helping communities there cope with the emotional trauma resulting from the terrorist attacks on September 11.

The seven-person team leaves Des Moines at 8:30 a.m. Sunday. The group will return November 4. A nine-person Iowa Crisis Response Team served in the New York area September 23-29, a ten-person team served October 7-14, and four more teams have been requested from Iowa during November by NOVA, the National Organization for Victim Assistance.

"The Iowa teams have been extremely well-received by the people of New York and New Jersey," Miller said. "The work is taxing physically and emotionally, but it really makes a difference to victims and survivors of this tragedy. We are proud of Iowans who are making this contribution."

The Iowa Crisis Response Team is organized by the Crime Victim Assistance Division of Miller's Office. The team members serving in the NYC area are among about 60 Iowans from various disciplines who have extensive training in helping communities cope and recover in the aftermath of major crimes or other large-scale trauma.

Three members of the Team leaving Sunday will be stationed in New York City. Four will be stationed in New Jersey, staffing the Family Assistance Center at Liberty State Park.

The Family Assistance Center is across the Hudson River from the World Trade Center site. Liberty Park was used as a triage center where victims were taken by ferry boat on September 11.

The New Jersey group usually will serve as "companions" and counselors, typically accompanying survivors or victims for 3-5 hours as they work through various sources of help and information, including state victim compensation programs; state job services; state motor vehicle services (since vehicles and licenses were destroyed); state human service departments; the FBI (to provide DNA samples of missing persons, e.g.); the state attorney general's office (to apply for death certificates for missing persons); and non-profit agencies such as the Red Cross and Salvation Army.

The three members stationed in New York City will work at NOVA headquarters, conduct group crisis intervention sessions with survivors, and train personnel from businesses in conducting the group crisis intervention sessions.

The first Iowa Crisis Response Team performed numerous duties around the NYC area, including working with pilots and flight attendants at JFK airport, conducting group crisis intervention sessions to help survivors cope with emotional trauma, working with employees of businesses located close to Ground Zero, and coordinating scheduling and assignments for other states' crisis response teams. The second Iowa Crisis Response Team served in New Jersey primarily at the Family Assistance Center. Teams have been working 12- to 14-hour days.

Members of the Third Iowa Crisis Response Team are: Edward Ruppert, Ames, clinical social worker, Lutheran Social Services (NYC team leader); Terri Rohret, Spencer, outpatient therapy supervisor, Spencer Psychiatry; Debra Schwiesow, Council Bluffs, school psychologist, Loess Hills AEA 13; Dianne Fagner, Des Moines, licensed independent social worker, Mercy Hospital Hospice (NJ team leader); Judy Warrick, Gowrie, licensed independent social worker, Psychiatry, Lee and Associates, Ft. Dodge (NJ team manager); Richard Frohm, Des Moines, clinical social worker, Des Moines Child & Adolescent Guidance Center; Jessica Tierney, Mason City, sexual assault advocate, Crisis Intervention Services.

Background:

The full Iowa Crisis Response Team consists of about 60 Iowa volunteers from various disciplines, including victim advocates, mental health professionals, child psychologists, educators, health professionals, clergy persons, and peace officers. All have completed extensive training in the special task of serving communities in the wake of a crime-related disaster. Iowa Response Team individuals have responded to community crime-related trauma situations in Salt Lake City, Little Rock AR, and several locations in Iowa including Marshalltown, Woodward, and Ft. Dodge.

Specific Iowa response teams can be assembled on 24-hours' notice. When the disaster hit New York, Washington, and Pennsylvania on Sept. 11, the full roster of volunteers was notified and put on alert in case Iowa was asked to send a team or teams. In most cases, employers contribute the time of their employees who serve on the teams.

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