Missoouri Governor Jay Nixon, Maj. Gen. Stephen L. Danner visit Joplin recovery efforts.
By Technical Sgt. Robert Ayres, 131st Bomb Wing
/ Published July 27, 2011
JOPLIN, Mo -- Missouri's governor and adjutant general met with key members of the Missouri National Guard and federal partner agencies working on relief efforts in Joplin recently.
The Missouri National Guard's Task Force Phoenix has been providing state oversight for the federal relief effort, said Maj. Gen. Stephen L. Danner, adjutant general of the Missouri National Guard.
"Citizen-Soldiers and Airmen have been doing an outstanding job of working with our federal partners and with the people of southwest Missouri to make this recovery as smooth and efficient as possible," said Danner. "Guardsmen have been on the ground since the night the tornado struck and will stay on mission as long as we are needed."
Danner and Gov. Jay Nixon visited with Maj. Gen. Merdith Temple, acting commanding general of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Col. William A. Ward, commander of Task Force Phoenix, Col. Anthony Hofmann, district commander of the Corps of Engineers' Kansas City District, and Col. Daniel Patton, commander of the Corps of Engineers' Joplin Recovery Field Office.
Close communication between the state, federal and local agencies has been critical to providing an effective response to help the community recover both physically and economically from the storm, Nixon said.
Danner spoke proudly of the joint-force effort that has been utilized throughout this operation, not only the coalition between the Missouri National Guard and the Army Corps of Engineers, but also the joint force formed by Missouri's Army and Air Guard members.
"Our Soldiers and Airmen have worked very hard to make life better for the people of Joplin since the tornado," Danner said. "We are proud to have had such an important role in this mission."
Under Ward's command, Task Force Phoenix is serving as the lead state agency managing the tornado debris removal effort. In this groundbreaking mission for the Missouri National Guard, Task Force Phoenix has coordinated the efforts of the various state agencies involved in the recovery effort and served as the liaison between the state and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. To facilitate the debris removal coordination effort, Task Force Phoenix has implemented a debris tracking system using Geographic Information Systems technology which has greatly aided in prioritizing debris removal efforts.
The Missouri National Guard's Task Force Phoenix is also supporting Nixon's Missouri Disaster Recovery Jobs Program which is creating hundreds of temporary jobs for workers who were left unemployed by the devastating tornado. The Missouri Disaster Recovery Jobs Program is funded through the federal Workforce Investment Act and is assisting with cleanup and humanitarian efforts in the cities of Joplin and Duquesne.
"We've got the most experienced leadership in the history of the Missouri National Guard in uniform now and they're using that experience to help the people and communities who need it most," Danner said. "Our Soldiers and Airmen have met every mission given to them with the professionalism, enthusiasm and dedication the people of Missouri have come to expect from their National Guard."