eMi Disaster Relief

One of the things I'm really excited about in being at the eMi headquarters is possibly getting involved with our disaster relief program. For the past couple of years, we have been partnering with other aid organizations such as Samaritan's Purse and Food for the Hungry. How it works is, very soon after a disaster one of these organizations will call eMi and let us know that they may have need for our help. Our DR coordinator, Scott, will then begin recruiting for whatever techincal needs the ministry has. Once eMi receives word that the trip is a go, the team of volunteers is mobilized and travels to whereever the disaster is to either scope out what needs to be done, or to actually meet a techincal need.
The week we arrived, I was asked by Scott to join at the last minute on one of these DR trips that was going out to Haiti. They needed one more structural engineer to fill the team that was going down to evaluate 360 houses to let the owners know whether or not they were safe to occupy. Alisha and I prayed about it and felt it wasn't the right timing, as it would have had me gone from July 16-Aug 3 - right in the middle of moving into our house! Well, as it turns out, it was really God's will as the guy who ended up going in my place was a young architect and former eMi intern. While they were there, Samaritan's Purse contacted Scott and asked for some help on designing some multi-use facilities that they could use for a number of projects in the next few years. Since they had an architect on the team, Scott was able to tell them yes and this former intern proceeded to spend his nights (after spending the whole day doing the building evaluations) working up drawings for the project! Seeing Scott give his post-trip report this past Friday made me a little bummed that I wasn't able to be a part of the work they'd done, but also really glad that this other guy had gone instead!
Up next for the DR program, we are sending a two-man scouting team with Food for the Hungry to Pakistan to evaluate what all is needed there. The flooding that has occurred over the past couple of weeks is not getting the attention it deserves. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon said he has 'never seen anything like it and was urged foreign aid to come to the assistance of the 20 million people affected by the floods. Here's a picture and caption of the desparation in Pakistan right now that I saw on MSNBC's website:


Marooned flood victims looking to escape try to grab onto a hovering military helicopter that arrived to distribute food supplies in Pakistan last week.


One cool thing from last week - I received an email from a former eMi volunteer who is working with an aid group down in Haiti trying to rebuild houses. He was asking for an eMi structural engineer to review a new design for a foundation they had created to lift the houses up above the flood plain there. I said I would take a look, so he sent me their preliminary designs. I reviewed them and marked them up with some suggestions and options that I thought would work best, and then emailed the drawings back. Well, about a week later, I received this email from the guy on the ground down in Haiti:


"Brad,
My name is xxxxx. I am working on the ground in Haiti building the foundations that you advised for xxxxx. I want to thank you for all of your input! It has been really helpful and as a result of it we are piloting a new foundation tomorrow that is much better than our previous foundation! Have a great day and may God bless you!"

The stories out of Haiti are heart-breaking, so it's good to know that people are on the ground down there trying to help. We at eMi are excited that more and more organizations are learning about eMi and using us when they need some technical help.



Some pictures from our recent family hike at Dome Rock State Wildlife Refuge about 45 minutes from Colorado Springs:

The boys and I mid-way through the 6-mile round trip hike

The trail, looking back. The Rockies are an interesting mix of rock and trees, very pretty. But also thin air - this hike was at 9000 ft.

This little creek was by our side the whole hike - lots of rain here recently so all the streams and rivers are a bit swollen for this time of year. We've had major thunderstorms for the last few weeks - including one that caught us while we were on the freeway and with the heavy rain and hail and 80mph winds, we could barely see and traffic was slowed to 5 mph!

The boys did really well on the hike, though Graysen needed a little carrying for parts on the way back to the car!

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