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Friday, June 29, 2012

How I Spent my Summer.

At the beginning of the school year in elementary school, did your teacher ever make you write about something you did during the summer? I don't think I ever did (but it's been too long ago to remember), but I think that what I did during the past 24+ hours would definitely make it in a how-I-spent-my-summer essay. 

Utah currently has 6 active large wildland fires burning, which have caused numerous evacuations. The American Red Cross has opened 4 facilities to help those affected by these fires. I've been involved with my local chapter for nearly two years and have tried to be trained in as many areas as possible. A few months ago, I was trained to be a Public Information Officer. I honestly did it because it scared me.  

I'm usually analytical and careful in my communication (for example, I just wrote this sentence three times in three different ways). I usually go through the implications of how I phrase things before I say or write them. It drives Kenz nuts. She'll ask me a question, I'll think about it, and think about it, and think about it, then I'll answer. So, I did something that would challenge me to shoot from the hip.

Tuesday, they were desperate for volunteers in the Mt. Pleasant shelter. After working out my work schedule with my boss, I responded. I pretty much freaked out and rehearsed talking points all the way down. I practiced answers to every question that I thought I might get from the press.

When I arrived, the shelter staff updated me on the situation and I took some pictures.

Press presence was minimal for a while and so I was pretty relaxed until I was told that I would be helping give Governor Herbert a tour of the shelter.

After a long night at the shelter (4 hours of sleep), the next day I was asked to help set up a reception center in Wellington. They were expecting large Spanish-speaking population and a Spanish-speaking PIO was necessary to help mediate.

I took more pictures.

But no press, or clients really. Everyone was on evacuation notice because the fire was not threatening homes at the time. So we set up a reception center for the community to receive information and food.

26+ hrs and 200+ miles later, I drove home missing the exit out of Price and giving myself and those following me the scenic tour of Price and Helper, Utah. 

Exciting, I know.


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