Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Volunteer: Sandy's Damage 'Massive' ; Local FEMA Help Ongoing

Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Volunteer: Sandy's Damage 'Massive' ; Local FEMA Help Ongoing

Article excerpt

Federal Emergency Management Agency reserve worker Karla Efinger tries not to compare disaster areas she's been in during her eight- year stint with the agency. But the magnitude of the impact superstorm Sandy, her current assignment, had on the East Coast, was hard to ignore even before the powerful system made landfall and wreaked immense havoc.

"It was just so massive," said Efinger, 55, of Evansville, who said she monitored media reports before the storm struck in late October.

Efinger has been a FEMA reserve case worker since 2004, first recommended for the job by Evansville Vanderburgh County Emergency Management Agency director Sherman Greer.

Reached by phone last week, Efinger said she first worked in Albany, N. Y., as part of a preliminary damage assessment team gathering information for the New York governor before being assigned to New York City. She said she has worked in all five of the city's boroughs with individuals trying to qualify for FEMA assistance.

Efinger, who has worked in the aftermath of several disasters, including Hurricane Katrina, declined to compare the storms, only going as far as calling Sandy "very, very major." However, she complimented the resolve of victims of both storms and the volunteers and others who have come to help.

"The people themselves are doing what they can," said Efinger, who said it's that prevailing spirit that keeps her motivated.

A handful of those from the latter group have come from the Evansville area. The Evansville-Wabash Valley chapter of the American Red Cross has sent more than 35 disaster-trained volunteers since the storm struck, and Vectren had several teams of workers helping restore power to stricken areas.

Of course, Evansville resident Stan Gregory became somewhat of an overnight celebrity after the New York Daily News chronicled his trek to New Jersey to hand out relief supplies after seeing the destruction on television. …

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