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The Salvation Army of Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi sending aid to areas hit by historic flooding

south carolina supplies 5The Emergency Disaster Services of The Salvation Army of Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi (ALM) is joining in the effort to assist residents in South Carolina hit hardest by severe storms and flooding. South Carolina has received a federal disaster declaration to include 11 counties. The ALM Division is supporting the response and recovery efforts by providing 1400 disaster clean-up kits, 78 insulated food distribution containers (cambros) and 9,000 cambro liners. The semi-truckload of supplies is being shipped to South Carolina from our warehouse located in Jackson.

The insulated food containers will be utilized to support bulk distribution of hot food to affected residents.  The clean-up kits will be distributed to local residents to assist in recovery efforts. A clean-up kit consists of household cleaning supplies such as a broom, mop, bleach, all-purpose cleaner, a pair of cleaning and work gloves, face mask, scrub brush and squeegee mop.

Terry Lightheart, ALM Divisional Emergency Services Director, who is currently deployed as a Salvation Army Liaison at the South Carolina State Emergency Operations Center stated, “Supplies are being provided from ALM to South Carolina through a request from The Salvation Army South Carolina Incident Command. Much work has already taken place. However, there is more to be done to help residents affected from this storm, specifically from devastating flooding.”

As part of the mission of The Salvation Army we provide emergency disaster services and relief to those affected without discrimination in the name of Jesus Christ. Currently, The Salvation Army is providing food, drinks, snacks, clean-up kits and emotional and spiritual care. These services will continue throughout the response and recovery efforts.

The Salvation Army asks people who want to help those affected by the storm to please give through one of four channels.

You can donate online at: disaster.salvationarmyusa.org

You can call 1-800-SAL-ARMY or text STORM to 51555.

You can also donate by mailing a check to The Salvation Army, Southern Territorial Headquarters at P.O. Box 1959, Atlanta, GA 30301. Please label checks “East Coast Floods.”

Lightheart takes over Emergency/Disaster Services for Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi Division

Terry Lightheart 1For The Salvation Army’s Emergency/Disaster Services, you hope your services aren’t needed, but you must be ready in case they are. That’s the fine line these employees walk. You may not be needed each day or even each week, but when you are called upon, you must be prepared to respond. Disaster services is all about preparedness, response, recovery, and mitigation efforts.

Growing up in Canton, Mississippi, with an Army Lieutenant Colonel father, our division’s newest Emergency Disaster Services Director, Terry Lightheart says preparedness was just a part of everyday life.

“My father and mother believed in always being prepared. When we shopped for groceries, it was for a month’s supply. Living on a farm, we always had a garden and preserved what we grew. My father also kept extra supplies such as fuel, batteries, flashlights, camping equipment etc. as a backup so that our lives would not be too disrupted in an emergency,” said Lightheart.

This type of living instilled in a young Lightheart a sense of personal responsibility that launched within her a passion for preparedness as an adult.

“I realized that I wanted to be involved in emergency management as a career after becoming a disaster response volunteer for the American Red Cross following Hurricane Katrina,” said Lightheart. “An opportunity to do just that came when a full-time salaried position as the Emergency Services Manager opened. I was already actively involved as a volunteer, so I was thrilled to fill the position.”

This decision opened doors for other opportunities to serve in the emergency management profession. Prior to joining The Salvation Army family, Lightheart served as the Director for the Office of Preparedness with the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) where she oversaw the day-to-day operations of three Bureaus (Exercise, Plans and Training). In this capacity, she coordinated the efforts of the Plans Section for the State Emergency Operations Center and served as the Chair for the Governors Active Shooter Task Force. Prior to this appointment, Terry served as the Hurricane Program Manager for MEMA, and as a Senior All Hazards Planner for the Mississippi State Department of Health where she focused on earthquake, mass fatality, and non-ambulatory patient transportation planning training, coordination, and exercise.

“Through prior positions, I have had the opportunity to work with The Salvation Army,” said Lightheart. “I was impressed with how the representatives that I encountered were always willing to go above and beyond the call of duty to provide disaster relief services to those in need. It was evident that The Salvation Army was and is invaluable prior to, during and after disaster related events.”

Lightheart firmly believes that emergency preparedness is a team and community effort.  She sees her and other ALM-EDS staff primary roles and responsibilities as providing support to the Corps and Service Centers. Therefore, one of her first goals is to become better acquainted with The Salvation Army officers, local and state community leaders, and other Salvation Army family members in order to promote awareness and continuity of operations across the three state division. Several other goals include working as a team to develop a written Emergency Operations Plan,  recruitment of disaster response volunteers through training and exercise ultimately building a response team that is three levels deep to cover incident command positions during  states of emergency and as requested, to provide divisional support for disaster response and recovery efforts.

Lightheart is pleased to learn how much The Salvation Army does outside of disaster services.

“Prior to this position, I was not fully aware of The Salvations Army’s mission. I am impressed with the diversity of programs which includes a whole community concept of unconditionally serving all those who are in need through ministering and providing support for daily living. I have no reservations about being a part of this great organization and have felt nothing but welcomed by everyone that I have encountered I support the mission and I am glad to help in any way that I can.”

Terry holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Emergency Management from Jacksonville State University. She has earned the designation as a Mississippi Certified Emergency Manager (MCEM). Since 2013, Terry has served as the Chair of the Strategic Planning Committee for International Association of Emergency Managers – USA (IAEM-USA). She serves on a volunteer basis as an Assessor for the Emergency Management Accreditation Program (EMAP), is a member of the Mississippi Civil Defense/Emergency Management Association, a graduate of the FBI Citizens Academy, a member of the International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM), a member of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society and the Epsilon Pi Phi Emergency Management Honor Society.