Disaster team seeks volunteers

The Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD) team is up and running and participated in their first disaster during the Sky and Corrine fires aiding the evacuees in two shelter locations in Oakhurst.

“The Calvin Crest camp counselors came out with only the clothes on their backs,” VOAD Chair Laura Norman reports. “The VOAD jumped to action and acquired new undergarments for them in addition to many hygiene items they requested.”

The VOAD is designed to work in conjunction with the Red Cross who sets up the shelters and arranges for food for the evacuees while the shelter is open. Many local businesses rallied to the VOAD requests and provided toothbrushes, toothpaste, mouth wash, bar soap, shampoo, razors, pillows, blankets, and loaned towels.

All items that were not used by the evacuees have been boxed and stored locally so they can be brought out at a moment’s notice the next time shelters are opened. Since then, the VOAD has met and elected an executive board made up of community members from many different market segments. The new board is in the process of creating by-laws and will soon be electing officers. Once these goals are accomplished they will join the NorCal VOAD that covers the 48 most northern of California’s 58 counties.

The executive board consists of Mike Vaughn (animal rescue), Andrew Pence (finance), Joseph Frank (Mountain Amateur Radio Club), Kathy Thomas (realty), Jessica Steele (retail), Julie Fullmer (visitor’s bureau), and Chairman Laura Norman (utilities). The VOAD also consists of community leaders representing area of chambers of commerce, area churches, schools, and service clubs.

Very soon a mirror organization will be established in Mariposa which will allow leveraging of the many resources that we have locally and not be dependent on aid coming up from the San Joaquin Valley. Anyone who would like to volunteer is encouraged to call (559) 683-4911, or (209) 966-5911.

Details: Laura Norman, (559) 642-1127, email,