UMCSC disaster coordinators tapped to lead VOAD task forces

By Jessica Brodie

Two United Methodist disaster response coordinators have been tapped to chair task forces for the South Carolina Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster group.

The Rev. Gregg Varner, South Carolina Conference disaster response coordinator, will chair South Carolina VOAD’s Rebuild and Repair Task Force, and the Rev. George Olive, disaster response coordinator for the Marion District, who chair the Case Management Task Force.

South Carolina VOAD is the forum where nonprofit and voluntary organizations share knowledge and resources throughout the emergency management cycle—preparedness, response, recovery, and mitigation—to help disaster survivors and communities across the state affected by disaster.

“Having two South Carolina United Methodist clergy tapped to chair VOAD task forces shows both the commitment of The United Methodist Church and our skill for recovery in South Carolina after the flood,” said Matt Brodie, communications director for the South Carolina Conference of The United Methodist Church.

Mike Patterson, SCVOAD president, said he is grateful to the South Carolina Conference for supporting VOAD’s efforts.

“We are grateful for individuals like George and Gregg who step up to facilitate opportunities to practice the 4Cs of VOAD: Cooperation, Communication, Coordination and Collaboration,” Patterson said. “As a member of South Carolina Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster, the United Methodist South Carolina Conference has had wonderful representation from both George Olive and Gregg Varner. George had volunteered to coordinate the Disaster Case Management Committee of SCVOAD and, following the severe flooding, this committee quickly evolved into a task force of organizations and agencies engaged and/or interested in engaging in disaster case management. The Disaster Case Management Task Force was created and George agreed to lead it. As a member of the SCVOAD Executive Committee, Gregg Varner attended the first in-person SCVOAD meeting following the floods when it became apparent organizations engaged in mud-out and cleanup work needed to come together to discuss ‘next steps’ in that process and look at the potential for repairs to homes. The Repair-Rebuild-Recovery Task Force was created and Gregg volunteered to lead it.”

Varner said the positions will grant them inside access to disaster relief statewide, which can be helpful from a variety of perspectives.

“The value of that is that with us chairing those committees, United Methodists are on the ground floor in development in pursuing and activating the work these task forces are doing,” Varner said. “We are on the inside, and it’s good for people to know their United Methodist Church is in the thick of it.”

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