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

For immediate release -- Friday, October 8, 2004.

Contact Bob Brammer - 515-281-6699, or
Alison Walding - 515-281-5829

Iowa Sends Crisis Response Team
to Aid Florida Hurricane Recovery

DES MOINES.   Attorney General Tom Miller said today that Iowa is sending a Crisis Response Team to assist in relief and recovery operations that continue in Florida in the wake of Hurricanes Charley, Frances and Ivan. Five Iowans specially trained in crisis response will leave Sunday for a week's service coordinated with the Florida Crisis Response Team.

This Iowa team consists of Judith Pancratz of Davenport (team leader), Claudia Atkinson of Nevada, Ruth Englebart of Indianola, Connie Haughey of Toledo (team manager), and Jessica Tierney of Mason City.

The Iowa volunteers are part of a larger group of 135 Iowans who make up the Iowa Crisis Response Team (ICRT) coordinated by the Attorney General's Crime Victim Assistance Division.

"The top mission of the Iowa Crisis Response Team is to be ready to help individuals, care-givers and communities cope with the trauma of major crimes, such as a killing at a school or multiple murders in a community," Miller said. "In this case we are sending Iowans to help with the overwhelming natural disaster of the hurricanes - but the same skills and training apply. I'm grateful and proud of these Iowans for volunteering to help."

Two members of the Iowa Crisis Response Team served in Florida September 11-19 - Richard Iske and Jerelynn Nielsen, both of Clarinda. Iske and Nielsen provided dozens of one-on-one "crisis interventions," helping people cope with the trauma of the disaster, and assisting them in working through the processes of getting assistance. Iske said many people were distraught over their circumstances in the wake of the hurricanes.

Iske and Nielsen also assisted staff members from other agencies - FEMA, SBA, Red Cross, elder affairs, and others - helping them cope with the stress of responding to the disaster.

The new Iowa team will assemble Sunday afternoon in Orlando and then drive to the Florida Crisis Response Team Command Center in Viera, where they will be given assignments and instructions. Team members are expected to serve in a wide spectrum of duties -- accompanying victims, conducting group crisis intervention sessions, and working in various centers such as Disaster Recovery, Emergency Operation, Shelters and Family Assistance, and others.

N.O.V.A. - the National Organization for Victim Assistance based in Washington - is coordinating the formation of teams from various states, including Iowa's team. Expenses are paid by NOVA. Donations to NOVA for the operation can be made at www.trynova.org.

In the wake of the World Trade Center attacks in New York, Iowa sent a total of 14 crisis response teams totaling 84 people to help victims work through processes of getting aid, and help both survivors and care-givers cope with the enormous trauma of the situation.

Iowa Crisis Response Team members come from various disciplines, ranging from nurses and social workers, to psychologists to clergy members. They receive specialized training in assisting both victims and those who care for them.

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