Cape Coral CERT Program Receives Volunteer Agency Service Award

The Cape Coral CERT Program was selected out of 40 applicants and was commended for their response during Hurricane Irma

The Governor’s Hurricane Conference (GHC) is the largest forum in the nation focusing on hurricane planning, preparedness, response, recovery, and mitigation. It is the premier event for the delivery of economical training and education to ensure communities’ ability to adequately prepare for, respond to, and recover from, tropical cyclones.

One of the most prestigious features of the conference is the Awards Luncheon where agencies and/or individuals who have demonstrated outstanding leadership, contributions, or efforts regarding hurricane preparedness, response, recovery, or mitigation in the State of Florida are recognized.

This year, out of 40 applicants, more than any prior year, the Cape Coral Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) was selected to receive the Volunteer Agency Service Award. This award recognizes an individual staff member or volunteer of a non-government organization (NGO) or a unit of an NGO that has made an outstanding contribution to the fulfillment of hurricane preparedness, response, recovery or mitigation activities in the State of Florida.

In 2017, Cape Coral CERT celebrated its 20th anniversary with its most dynamic year yet. The program’s 173 members volunteered over 4,000 hours of service through outreach, trainings, administrative support, EOC activations, and field operations. Additionally, Cape Coral CERT provided crucial support in response efforts to both the 100-Year-Flood in August and Hurricane Irma in September.

The evaluation committee for the Volunteer Agency Service Award indicated the Cape Coral CERT Program’s work was outstanding in comparison to the agencies. Cape Coral CERT was primarily commended for their response during Hurricane Irma, the efforts to organize themselves into functional response teams, identifying areas of improvement post Hurricane Irma, and using partnerships with outside agencies to host trainings that addressed their identified needs. CERT volunteers Kay Owens, Jerry Owens, Naldine Light, and Bruce Roberts and CERT Program Manager Riley Tuff accepted the award on behalf of all of the Cape Coral CERT volunteers. “I am so proud to be a part of such an incredible program and work with such dedicated individuals,” said Kay Owens, “we don’t do it for the recognition, but receiving this award is such an honor.”