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

For immediate release - Friday, February 8, 2002.

Contact Bob Brammer - 515-281-6699.

Eighth and Final Iowa Crisis Response Team Going to Ground Zero on Saturday

The Attorney General's Crime Victim Assistance Division organized the six-person Iowa team that will spend next week at the World Trade Center site.

DES MOINES. Attorney General Tom Miller said today that the eighth and most likely final Iowa Crisis Response Team will leave Saturday morning to serve for a week at Ground Zero in New York City. The veteran, six-member team will mostly work directly with construction workers who are cleaning up the site and recovering remains of victims of the Sept. 11 attacks.

The team will be working at a respite center operated at Ground Zero by NOVA, the National Organization for Victim Assistance, to help workers cope with the emotional trauma of their difficult work. An earlier Iowa team established the respite center on behalf of NOVA in early November, and construction workers flew an Iowa flag atop the huge 1000-ton crane at the site.

Members of the eighth Iowa team are:

John Harrell -- Chaplain, Mercy Hospital, Des Moines

Betty Brown -- Administrator of Victim & Restorative Justice Programs, Dept. Corrections, DSM

Matt Peterson -- Residential Officer, Department of Corrections, Davenport

Diane Tonkyn -- Therapist, United Action for Youth, Iowa City

Suzan Brooks -- Attorney, Des Moines

Judy Pancratz (Team Leader) -- Guidance Counselor, Davenport Community School District.

"This is a veteran team," Miller said. Peterson and Pancratz are serving on their third crisis response team in the NYC/New Jersey area; the other four members are serving on their second.

Miller said this is likely to be the last Iowa Crisis Response Team dispatched to work with survivors, construction workers, airline pilots and many others affected by the Sept. 11 attack, although individual trained Iowans may serve in the future as needed.

"Iowans on the teams have given about 450 days to help people in New York and New Jersey cope with this terrible disaster," Miller said. Eight Iowa teams have averaged eight members each and served for a week based either in NYC or in Jersey City NJ just across the Hudson River.

"The Iowa teams have been extremely well-received by the people of New York and New Jersey," Miller said. "The work is difficult physically and emotionally, but it makes a big difference to victims, survivors, and now construction workers. I am very proud of Iowans who are making this contribution."

Betty Brown, John Harrell, and Suzan Brooks will leave DSM at 11:05 a.m. Sat. via United and return at 4 p.m. Feb. 17. Diane Tonkyn will leave Cedar Rapids at 11:20 a.m. Sat. via United and return at 5:52 p.m. on Feb. 17. Judy Pancratz and Matt Peterson will leave the Quad Cities at 11:25 a.m. Sat. via United and return at 6:20 p.m. Feb. 17.

Crisis Response Training Scheduled in March:

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. 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.

The Attorney General's Crime Victim Assistance Division is organizing a 40-hour training March 11-15 to prepare more Iowans to be ready to serve on the full Iowa Crisis Response Team.

Background:

The full Iowa Crisis Response Team now consists of about 60 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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