The mid-July flooding event in Southeast Wisconsin brought closed roads, including Highway 50 in the Town of Wheatland, along with damages to homes and businesses (Jason Arndt/The Report).

Volunteers sought

By Jason Arndt

A new collaborative endeavor among Racine, Kenosha and Walworth counties is intended to meet the ongoing needs of those affected by historic July flooding.

The newly formed group, now known as the Southeast Wisconsin Disaster Recovery Committee, also developed a mission statement at its third meeting held at the Kenosha County Center on Monday.

Prior to Monday’s meeting, representatives from Walworth, Racine and Kenosha counties met at the Burlington High School auditorium, where emergency management directors from the three counties sought ways to bring more community representative to the table.

Two days later, representatives from the United Way, American Red Cross, local church groups and other nonprofit groups such as The Sharing Center in Trevor and Love, Inc., of Burlington, were in attendance.

On Monday, Disaster Recovery Support Initiative Director Tim Sheaffer told representatives from several agencies that collaboration is imperative to long-term recovery.

“Many of you people might be out there doing the work in the field, but the point of a long-term recovery committee is the collaboration,” Sheaffer said. “There might not be one or two people in each subcommittee present here today, but we can get started.”

Subcommittees include disaster case management, a funders’ table, emotional and spiritual support, finance and donations, volunteer coordination and construction coordination.

The point of each subcommittee, according to Sheaffer, is to have long-term recovery efforts run efficiently without redundancy in services.

“None of us want to spend our time duplicating each other’s efforts, so this is all part of the long-term recovery group committee,” he said.

“We want to make sure nobody falls through the cracks.”

To ensure the committee’s long-term endeavors, the group developed a mission statement, which addresses ongoing coordination among communities providing volunteer, financial, spiritual, physical and/or psychology support for people whose lives have been ravaged by the July 11 to 13 disaster.

After the group developed a mission statement, the next tasks are drafting a set of bylaws, garnering more volunteers and reviewing general liability insurance examples to possibly implement in the future.

Among the next items on the agenda, Sharing Center Executive Director Sharon Pomaville and Social Services Director Tina Henning of Burlington’s Love, Inc. plan to reach out to members of their respective communities to encourage volunteers.

While Pomaville and Henning seek volunteers, their hope is to garner case managers, or as the group called it, Disaster Recovery Advocates.

Pomaville, who was also in attendance at Saturday’s meeting, said community representation is crucial to the long-term recovery in Racine, Kenosha and Walworth counties.

“People are ready to get into the nuts and bolts of this effort,” Pomaville said on Saturday. “I think it would be very helpful for people in the community to know that their community is represented.”

One community member, Allen Dunski, has spearheaded several clean-up drives in the Silver Lake area where he resides.

Dunski has offered to bring in resources including prospective construction management and volunteer management staff.

In addition to more manpower, a community quick to respond is another crucial component, according to Kenosha County Emergency Management Director Lt. Horace Staples.

“Time is of the essence, we just want to get this started,” Staples said after Saturday’s meeting.

Initially, Staples and other government officials met Aug. 24 to hold preliminary discussions related to the newly formed group.

The group’s next meeting is scheduled for 4 p.m. Sept. 6 at a place to be determined.

To volunteer services in Kenosha County, contact Pomaville at (262) 298-5535 or by email at

For Racine County, contact Henning at (262) 763-6226 or at

Prospective volunteers looking to pitch in through the construction trades can reach Dunski at (262) 770-2441 or

Subcommittee descriptions
Ingredients for a successful long-term recovery group as identified by organizers, include:
• Commitment to a common goal of responding to unmet needs of individuals and families in the community
• Commitment to participate in shared decision-making
• Willingness to share information, resources and tasks
• Professional sense of respect for individual team members

Disaster Case Management functions
• Qualify clients for long-term recovery resources
• Completes duplication of benefits checks
• Assists clients with development of a personal recovery plan
• Refers/advocates clients to appropriate community service agencies to fulfill other unmet needs.

Funders Table Goals
• Review cases presented
• Determine ability to fulfill unmet needs
• Resource the unmet needs of the client

Emotional and Spiritual
• Assists individuals with emotional needs
• Identifies available emotional and spiritual care resources
• Refers clients to identified emotional and spiritual care resources
• Coordinates community resilience events (anniversaries)

Finance and Donations
• Responsible for Long Term Recovery financial planning
• Seeks in-kind, cash donations and grants
• Coordinates with funders
• Manages donated goods/materials

Volunteer Coordination
• Markets for volunteer groups locally and nationwide
• Coordinates with construction coordinator to match volunteer skills with project needs
• Assists volunteer groups with local logistics (lodging, meals, etc.)

Construction Coordination
• Estimates home repair costs for Case Management
• Plans projects and oversees construction
• Works closely with case managers and volunteer coordinators


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