• John Zanders

Salvation Army Georgia Division Supports WMD Response Exercises

Photo: Exercise participants (left to right) Captain Jose’Marquez, Major Shane Strickland (Commander), 2nd Lt. Ryan Schwartz (Operations Officer), First Sergeant Gregory Haines, Major Jim Smith and Jeff Jones.

Atlanta, GA (July 2, 2012) - For more than a century, The Salvation Army has endeavored to ease human sufferings wherever it is found.  The Georgia Divisional Disaster Department, under the direction of Major Jim Smith (R), continues to respond when disaster strikes, and more importantly to assist in training exercises to ensure The Salvation Army Disaster team is ready when called.

Recently the 4Th Weapons of Mass Destruction Civil Support Team, organized by First Sergeant Gregory Haines invited The Salvation Army to be part of multi state exercise with Alabama, South Carolina and Tennessee.  Over 100 individuals from agencies that included the FBI, GBI, GEMA, Cobb County Fire and Rescue and Hazmat Teams, and Cobb County Police joined the full scale exercise.  First Sergeant Haines, whose parents served as Salvation Army Officers, stated “This is a great way to include a great organization which we know can respond when called on and at a moment’s notice.  We can depend on the Army because of, not only their expertise in disaster relief, but because of their commitment, services provided, and compassion to families affected in crisis.  ”

“It is important for the Disaster Services of The Salvation Army to be involved in these training exercises” stated Major Jim Smith.  “The Army becomes part of the bigger team as local commands build relationships with the local responding agencies.  These trainings help us understand the needs of the agencies so we can be prepared and serve those who need us in very difficult and strenuous times. “

As we approach Hurricane Season, The Salvation Army Georgia Division equipped with 24 canteens are capable of serving 1,500 meals per day, continues to train throughout the Division.  In 20111 thousands of individuals were assisted during the Tornadoes that ripped through Alabama, Georgia and Kentucky as well as serving those affected by Hurricane Irene from Georgia to Pennsylvania.