By Kara Witherow, Editor
Luis Morales, Disaster Coordinator for the South Georgia Conference, has been elected vice president of the Georgia Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD).
Morales, a member of Centerville United Methodist Church, has for years been active in disaster response, recovery, and disaster training. In 2018, following Hurricane Maria, he served as a consultant for the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) in Puerto Rico.
In his new role with Georgia VOAD, Morales will help the organization collaborate between state members, GEMA, and FEMA.
“We’ve partnered and collaborated a lot with them on responses over the years,” Morales said. “This opportunity just came up for me to do something new.”
While he’ll continue his role as Disaster Coordinator for the South Georgia Conference, Morales’ new role will give him the opportunity to continue to build and strengthen relationships and the disaster response network. There are currently 35 VOAD partners in Georgia, from faith-based organizations to nonprofit groups and community level COADs (Community Organizations Active in a Disaster).
“The work of the Georgia VOAD is incredible to witness when activated during a time of disaster,” said Allison Lindsey, director of Connectional Ministries. “Different organizations have varied resources and services to offer, and this collaboration through the VOAD has everyone at the table, hearing the needs and offering services, working together to increase the impact and be most effective in meeting the actual needs within the communities. It is an honor to have Luis serve in this role, and he will be an asset with his knowledge and experience in providing leadership to this organization.”
The “blue sky season” - the months in between hurricane seasons - is a great opportunity to collaborate and build the disaster response network, Morales said.
“The VOAD structure works on the four Cs: collaboration, communication, coordination, and cooperation,” he said. “We are always using those as a means to build and strengthen the network.”
And although hurricane season is still a few months away, Morales says that South Georgia residents need to be aware, stay safe, and get disaster response certification and training, if possible.
“Storms here in Georgia aren’t just limited to hurricane season. Our communities need to remain vigilant.”