Welcome to the Department of Justice, Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller

For immediate release - Friday, December 14, 2001. Contact Bob Brammer -- 515-281-6699.

Sixth Iowa Crisis Response Team

Going to New York Area Saturday

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

The eight-person team leaves Des Moines at 11 a.m. Saturday and will return Friday, December 21. The Iowa teams are organized by the Crime Victim Assistance Division of Miller's Office at the request of NOVA, the National Organization for Victim Assistance

This week's team will be stationed in Jersey City NJ at the Family Assistance Center at Liberty State Park just 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 Iowa teams have been extremely well-received by the people of New York and New Jersey," Miller said. "The work is challenging physically and emotionally, but it makes a big difference to victims and survivors. We are very proud of Iowans who are making this contribution."

Members of the sixth crisis response team are:

Edward Ruppert, Ames, social worker, Lutheran Social Services, site manager for all teams

Sara McMillan, D.M., sexual assault advocate, Polk County Victim Services, IA team leader

Laura Scheffert James, Dubuque, community program monitor, Dept. of Corrections

Kim Kluxdal, Des Moines, investigator, Attorney General's Crime Victim Assistance Division

Nicole Stutzman, Des Moines, investigator, A.G.'s Crime Victim Assistance Division

Winifred Hall, Des Moines, case manager, Iowa Health Systems

Jane Newlin, Des Moines, supervisor, EDS

Jeri Hodson, Des Moines, teacher associate, Ruby Van Meter School

The Iowans will serve as "companions" and counselors at the Family Assistance Center, 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.

Fifty-five team members have made up the six Crisis Response Teams organized by Iowa. (A total of 44 different Iowans from all over the state have participated; eleven have served on more than one team.) The team members 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. Teams typically work long hours for about a week at a time in the NYC area.

Previous Iowa teams have 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.

Members of the fourth Iowa Crisis Response Team were stationed at Ground Zero in Manhattan to support construction workers clearing the site and searching for bodies and personal items of victims. Appreciative crane operators invited team members to send an Iowa flag to fly at the site. The flag, which previously flew over the Iowa State Capitol, was raised this week and is flying near the top of the 1000-ton main crane at the site.

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.

Members of the fifth Iowa team were: Jamey Dickson, Logan IA, Iowa State Trooper in Council Bluffs, team leader; Becky Kinnamon, State Center, Program Coordinator for STOP Violence Against Women in Des Moines; Tedd Peso, Des Moines, AG's Crime Victim Assistance Division; Clair Franzen, Coggon, Engineering Tech with Rockwell Collins in Cedar Rapids; and Ruth Wright, Ames, AG's Crime Victim Assistance Division in Des Moines.

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