WASHINGTON – As hundreds of thousands of residents in Texas and Louisiana reel from the effects of Hurricane Harvey, the nation’s largest federal union thanks the career civil servants assisting in the recovery and relief operations.
“We at AFGE are praying, working, volunteering, and donating to the residents of Texas and Louisiana effected by this storm. We also want to thank the brave men and women working and volunteering in those areas as they face dangerous conditions and hazards to their personal well-being,” said American Federation of Government Employees National President J. David Cox Sr.
As Hurricane Harvey was making landfall a week ago, bringing 50+ inches of rain, 130 mph winds, and flooding to areas ill-equipped to handle the storm. America’s civil servants reported for duty.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency has thousands of civil servants on the ground in Texas and Louisiana; and they are joined by workers from: the Department of Veterans Affairs, Department of Health and Human Services, Environmental Protection Agency, Army Corps of Engineers, Department of Energy, Department of Defense, National Guard Bureau, and the Department of the Interior among many others.
AFGE, which represents more than 700,000 federal workers at 215 unique agencies and departments, has many members on the ground in Texas and Louisiana – for work and as volunteers.
“It’s time like these where you really see what it means to be an American, as more than 12,000 public servants risk their lives and donate their time to caring for those who need it most,” said Cox.
“Be it the EPA workers assisting the Texas Commission of Environmental Quality, the FEMA Mobile Emergency Response Support personnel providing emergency response communications needs, or the DoD working people conducting search and rescue missions in the area – everyone is pitching in however they can,” Cox added.
Besides the men and women on the ground, AFGE is supporting the survivors of Hurricane Harvey through its disaster relief fund, the Federal Employee Education and Assistance Fund. Made up of donations by AFGE affiliates, FEEA is designated for AFGE members in need of disaster assistance. Proceeds from FEEA will go to the 60,000 federal public servants impacted by Hurricane Harvey, and future disasters that harm federal workers – 85 percent of which live outside of the Washington, D.C.-area.
“With more than 5,000 federal employees in Houston, and more than 282,000 statewide, we are in dire need of help from our union brothers and sisters,” said AFGE District 10 National Vice President Cheryl Eliano, who represents federal workers in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, and Panama.
“Our EPA members are on the ground and in the air testing and monitoring toxic water to ensure that it’s safe for residents. We have members at the VA in Houston who have slept on the floors of their office since Harvey made landfall so they can care for veterans – all while facing the stark reality that their families are still in peril, and that their homes, cars, and valuables may have already washed away,” said Eliano. Adding, “We must take care of those who are here doing their duty once the storm is gone and the waters have subsided.”
For those interested in assisting with the recovery in Texas and Louisiana, AFGE is asking for donations of time or money to the All Hands Volunteers and the Federal Employee Education and Assistance Fund.
“As thousands and thousands of men, women, and children continue to be displaced and hurt by the effects of Hurricane Harvey, it’s imperative that we not sit idly by. Now is the time for everyone to step up and make a difference to those in need,” said Cox.
For assistance connecting with Federal Employees on their first-hand Hurricane Harvey response stories please contact Communications Director Ashley De Smeth, firstname.lastname@example.org